Arroyo underscores need for Disaster Management Department in gov’t
House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo underscored Friday the need for the Philippine government to have a Disaster Management Department to better address situations like what the country is currently facing amid the expected landfall of typhoon “Ompong.”
At the distribution of relief goods for victims of last month’s Habagat in Marilao, Bulacan and in preparation for “Ompong,” the former president who is currently Pampanga 2nd District Representative said confusion or misallocation of logistical needs in providing assistance can be avoided if a disaster department is solely in-charge of the situation.
Arroyo specifically cited as example the relief assistance her office extended in Marilao, in cooperation with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The place, she said, was based only on the declaration of no classes in said area because “we were clueless where the typhoon was going to hit.”
“It turns out, it’s east of Aurora. We should have gone to Aurora, but we did not know. We didn’t know yesterday when we had to prepare the goods,” the 71-year-old politiko said.
She mentioned as well the use of the truck of the city government of Meycauayan to deliver the DSWD goods for the activity, but which broke down.
“If there is a Disaster Management Department, they would have better information and they can better prepare,” Arroyo said.
“These are the logistical problems when you have only a coordinating council. And disasters happen to us all the time, especially with climate change. So, that’s why we need to have a permanent, full time Secretary of Disaster,” she continued.
Arroyo said the Secretary of Defense, who heads the coordinating council is also preoccupied with insurgency and terrorism.
“What happens now is, there is a typhoon that’s gonna hit the North. Four secretaries are there. If there was a full time secretary, then you would not need four secretaries to be there,” she added.
While she expressed satisfaction with how the government is currently preparing for Ompong, saying, “they’re doing the best they can,” the former leader said “this proves we should have a Disaster Management.”
“Otherwise, we would have been in Aurora today. Anyway, definitely Marilao was flooded and six barangays and some representatives are here, and maybe, on hindsight, Aurora is going to be hit first,” she said.
Ompong is expected to make landfall in Cagayan-Isabela area early Saturday morning, according to the government weather bureau.
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