Congressmen to donate part of their salaries for Batanes quake victims

Robie de Guzman   •   July 30, 2019   •   875

Photo by Dominic de Sagon Asa

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the House of Representatives are looking to raise some money to help the victims of twin earthquakes that rattled Batanes over the weekend.

In a statement issued on Tuesday (July 30), House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said leaders of the lower chamber have agreed to kick off a fund drive for the relief operations in Batanes, and urged their colleagues to donate a portion of their salary.

Each lawmaker is expected to contribute a minimum of P5,000 from his or her salary. The House, which has 300 members, is expected to raise at least P1.5 million or higher.

Aside from the monetary contribution, Romualdez said some congressmen have also expressed interest in donating relief goods collected from their staff and other House employees.

“It (contribution) has been the practice whenever a district is hard-hit by a calamity, in this case Batanes. This voluntary effort on the part of the congressmen to contribute has been done in the past through salary deduction. This has been initiated for the benefit of the casualties’ loved ones and injured residents of Batanes,” said Romualdez.

During a session on Monday, the House of Representatives adopted Resolution No. 139 expressing its “profound sympathies” and “deepest condolences” to those affected by the twin temblors that jolted Batanes.

The resolution also called on the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and other relevant organizations to expedite humanitarian assistance and restore normalcy to the affected areas.

The resolution was authored by Speaker Alan Cayetano, Romualdez, and House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante, Jr.

A manifestation was also made before the plenary about the “signature sheet” that shall be circulated for House members so they can write the amount of their voluntary contribution.

Last Saturday, nine people were killed and 63 others were injured when strong earthquakes hit Itbayat town in Batanes. President Rodrigo Duterte earlier promised to give P40 million to help reconstruct its local hospital damaged by earthquakes.

Patients stay in gym after magnitude 5.9 earthquake damages hospital in Bukidnon

Marje Pelayo   •   November 22, 2019

BUKIDNON, Philippines — Around 20 patients of Simbulan Hospital remain in a gymnasium in the municipality of Don Carlos because cracks from Monday’s (November 18) magnitude 5.9 earthquake has posed threats to their safety.

According to Councilor Keith Anthony Kotico, the gymnasium is the safest for the patients based on the structural assessment of the local government unit (LGU).

“Prior to evacuation, this has already been pointed as an evacuation area it was already assessed,” Kotico said.

Patients were ill at ease due to fear that the hospital walls might collapse at any moment.

“Kasi gumagalaw na talaga ang dingding (The walls were moving ),” observed Boy Palingcod whose sibling is a patient at Simbulan Hospital.

The Bukidnon Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) is doing rounds in other areas hit by the earthquake to assess the damages.

Personnel from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Likewise, join the assessment to address the needs of the affected residents. MNP (with details from Weng Fernandez)

Department of Disaster Resilience Bill passes House committee level

Robie de Guzman   •   November 21, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – A bill seeking to create a Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) has been approved at the committee level of the House of Representatives.

The House committees on government reorganization and disaster management approved on Wednesday the still unnumbered bill that would create an agency to handle disaster management.

It can be recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte, during his fourth State of the Nation Address, called on Congress to pass measures creating new agencies, including the DDR.

The measure provides for the creation of the DDR, which shall serve as the primary government agency responsible for leading, organizing and managing the national effort to reduce disaster risk, prepare for and respond to disasters, recover and rehabilitate, and build forward better after the occurrence of disasters.

The department will also oversee and coordinate the preparation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of disaster and climate resilience plans, programs, projects, and activities; and provide leadership in the continuous development of strategic and systematic approaches to disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery, and rehabilitation.

The agency will be headed by a secretary, supported by four undersecretaries responsible for the following key result areas: disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness and response, recovery and building forward better, and support to operations.

According to Albay Second District Representative Joey Salceda, one of the main proponents of the bill, the new department would need an initial budget of P10 billion from the national budget.

The measure also states that the DDR shall have a Disaster Resilience Fund, which shall consist of the Annual General Appropriations, the Disaster Contingency Fund, and the Rehabilitation and Recovery Fund to properly implement its provisions.

After hurdling the committee level, the measure will be referred to the House Committee on Rules for the schedule of its plenary deliberation.

Int’l language center in Malaysia to raise funds for earthquake victims in Mindanao

Marje Pelayo   •   November 20, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – An international language training institution based in Kuala Lumpur is launching a fundraising program for earthquake victims in Mindanao.

Royce Language Center’s Principal Sitinor Khajar Binti Nordin said the collected amount will be donated to families affected by the series of temblor that damaged several houses and structures in the region.

The school official said they have actually received applications from students who are locals of Mindanao and among those badly hit by the disaster.

“We would like to help any number of schools as our priority. Being a language school in Malaysia, we do understand the value of education,” Nordin said.

The principal said they wanted to extend assistance to affected school and students in Mindanao as a way to help them recover from the tragedy.

The RLC is planning to make the fundraising a regular event after its success.

“We have never done that before. This is going to be our first experience,” Nordin said.

“We are looking forward to it and if it goes well, we may make fund-raising one of our usual activities,” she added. – MNP (with reports from Maya Barquez)

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