An initial Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) that can help pinpoint areas to prioritize relief efforts on one hand, and calling on the international community for relief assistance on the other.
This is the two-pronged formula that can ensure Filipinos affected by Typhoon Odette will get their much-needed assistance, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson said.
Lacson, who chairs the Senate Committee on National Defense and who served as Presidential Assistant on Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR), said these will complement the initial steps taken by the government to address the situation.
“It is imperative that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), through the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), expedite the submission of their initial PDNA (Post Disaster Needs Assessment), in order to have an accurate data-driven information on the ground so the national government can prioritize relief, rehabilitation and recovery efforts and assistance to the hardest hit communities,” he said.
“For its part, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) may also call on the international community of nations for relief assistance just like how they responded to Haiyan (Yolanda) eight years ago,” he added.
Lacson noted the designation of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista as the interim crisis manager is one move toward the right direction.
But he added the NDRRMC must convene soonest to make sure that the agencies involved in relief work are on the same page.
“In calamities like this, putting somebody overall in charge is the best and right thing to do. Also, the NDRRMC will need to convene ASAP,” he said.
During his stint as PARR, Lacson put together the Yolanda Comprehensive Reconstruction Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP) to serve as a basis for immediate government interventions in the affected areas.
The CRRP also facilitates international donor assistance and provides Projects, Programs, and Activities (PPAs) to meet the needs as identified in the PDNA (ground verified information from the OCD).
As PARR from 2013 to 2015, Lacson had seen first-hand what challenges a massive catastrophe can bring to government, the private sector and affected communities. As chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Lacson also heads the Joint Oversight Committee on the NDRRMC Act of 2010.
“This is beyond a policy or a legislative issue already. The issue of implementation is a big factor, too. We have to systematically approach the way we plan, prepare, deploy, recover and rebuild from any disaster – whether natural or man-made. Given its whole-of-nation, multi-sectoral nature, I believe a more experienced, more hands-on President will go a long way in ensuring that better policies and strategies, better planning, a more coordinated response, and more institutional and sustainable mechanisms are all put in place,” he said.