Lacson pushes review of disaster management law to cope with ‘new normal’

With cyclones and other calamities likely to hit at this time of the year, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson is seeking a review of the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 to make it more responsive in dealing with the “new normal” effects of climate change.

In Senate Resolution No. 10, Lacson said it is time for the Congressional Oversight Committee on Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 to find ways to improve the law and its implementation.

“(T)here is a need to revisit the Act in order determine its effectivity and relevance when it comes to the country’s response to the challenges of the ‘new normal’ and the alarming rate of climate change, and to propose possible remedial measures,” said Lacson, who served as Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery from December 2013 to February 2015. 

[Download: Senate Resolution 10, Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act]

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He noted Republic Act 10121, the “Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010,” was enacted on May 27, 2010 to strengthen the country’s institutional capacity for disaster risk reduction and management and build local communities’ resilience to disaster and climate change impacts.

While many natural and manmade calamities had hit the country since the act was passed – including the Zamboanga crisis in September 2013 and the Bohol earthquake in October 2013, it was Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that “tested the legal and institutional capabilities of both the national and local governments as established by the Act and exposed the disconnect between the provisions of the Act and the realities and dynamics on the grounds,” Lacson said.

Lacson, as head of the PARR, had seen firsthand the destruction brought by Yolanda and coordinated rehabilitation efforts for those affected by the calamity.

On the other hand, he noted the World Risk Report 2015, published by United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), ranked the country third in the World Risk Index, only after Vanuatu and Tonga.

He added the German-watch Global Climate Risk Index 2016 identified the country at fourth in most affected countries from 1995 to 2014 in the Long-Term Climate Risk Index (CRI).

Lacson added that while the law provides for a congressional sunset review five years after its passage, no such evaluation had taken place.

“(T)here is also a necessity to evaluate the performance of government agencies in implementing the provisions of the Act and to determine whether the mandates were carried out effectively, and if the mechanisms and processes established are effectual,” he said.

“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, as it is hereby resolved to direct the Congressional Oversight Committee on the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 to conduct a systematic evaluation of the accomplishments and impact of the Act, as well as the performance and organizational structure of its implementing agencies, for purposes of determining remedial legislation,” he said.

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