Poe renews push for creation of Disaster Management agency amid Taal unrest

Robie de Guzman   •   January 15, 2020   •   628

Senator Grace Poe

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe renewed her call for the creation of a permanent disaster management department as several areas in Southern Luzon continue to grapple with the impact of the eruption of Taal Volcano.

In a statement, Poe underscored anew the need for an agency to deal with issues relating to calamities.

The senator, who is pushing the passage of Senate Bill No. 124 seeking the establishment of the Department of Disaster Resilience and Emergency Assistance and Management, said it is time for the country to have an agency which is mandated to focus on reducing tragedy and implement adequate and timely response during a disaster.

“I think the eruption of Taal Volcano gives yet another reason for the establishment of this department,” Poe said in a radio interview Tuesday.

“We really need a department that has a mandate of focusing on preventing tragedy during a calamity, correct and timely response, and adequate and proper rehabilitation, including acceptable relocation of victims,” Poe said.

Under the bill, the department will have a Bureau of Disaster Resiliency, which will focus on mitigation, prevention, and post-disaster rehabilitation.

It will also have a Bureau of Disaster Preparation and Response, which will handle the operations immediately before, during, and immediately after a disaster; and the Bureau of Knowledge Management and Dissemination, which will build up and disseminate technical knowledge on disaster risk reduction management.

Structurally, the department shall consist of two separate and distinct entities, which are NDRRMC and the department proper.

Under the proposal, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) shall retain its policy-making and coordinating functions under Republic Act 10121, or the “Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010,” while the department proper shall be the secretariat and executive arm envisioned to provide leadership with accountability. The department shall also have local offices in every region.

Poe said that while the NDRRMC has a head, the council is actually composed of several departments like the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Health, and the Department of Public Works and Highways.

“Noon pa ito ay na-file ko na kasi iyong ating NDRRMC ngayon, bagama’t sila ay abala sa mga nangyayari, hindi pa ito ganap na departamento. So, ano ang ibig sabihin n’yan? Wala talagang secretary o cabinet rank level kaya coordinating council lang talaga sila,” Poe said.

Poe stressed that in times of calamities, it is critical that someone is in charge.

“Dapat may isang kalihim na magiging responsable,” she said.

Thousands of families in Batangas province and nearby areas have been affected by the ashfall that has blanketed roads, homes and structures following the eruption of Taal Volcano beginning Sunday.

Poe urges DICT, telcos to submit plans for improving internet service

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 9, 2020

Senator Grace Poe is urging the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and telecommunication companies (Telcos) to submit by July 13 their plan on improving internet service in the country.

Poe wants to determine how many more towers telcos plan to build in the coming years to give the Filipinos better online experience especially with the high demand for better internet service due to effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Agencies and telcos need a nudge to act as fast as they can to bring the internet to everyone’s homes,” she said.

A boost in connectivity would also help students and teachers with online learning, Poe added. It is also crucial for businesses that operate through online transactions.

“Nararanasan nating lahat ang mababang kalidad ng ating connection, kaya importante talaga na ang mga telco ay mag-deliver sa kanilang pangako na magpatayo ng mas maraming cell site (We have all experienced poor internet connection that is why it is important for telcos to deliver on their promise to build more cell sites),” she said. AAC

UNTV Cup players to join Wish Olympics

UNTV News   •   February 21, 2020

Julius Casaysayan of Agriculture Food Masters

MANILA, Philippines — Players from UNTV Cup – the Liga of Public Servants – are set to join the Wish Olympics, a charity sports and entertainment event for the benefit of the victims of the Taal Volcano eruption.

Among the players are PNP Responders’ Mariano “Neil Perez” Flormata Jr. and Anton Tolentino, Julius Casaysayan of Agriculture Food Masters, Rod William Vasallo of PITC Global Traders and Carlo Gonzalez of GSIS Furies.

PBA Legends and UNTV Cup Commissioners Atoy Co and Ed Cordero, as well as PBA Legends Allan Caidic, Johnny Abarrientos, Jayjay Helterbrand, Chris Calaguio, and Willie Miller, will also be gracing the event and extend their support.

Spearheaded by Wish 107.5 innovator and public service advocate, Kuya Daniel Razon, Wish Olympics will be held on February 23, 2020, at Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Rod William Vasallo of PITC Global Traders

It is aimed at extending more charity works to the people of Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna who have been severely affected by the explosion of the Taal Volcano.

Since the first week of the calamity, UNTV and the Members Church of God International, together with local and national government agencies have been carrying out medical missions and relief efforts for the victims.

Razon said he realizes the enormity of the eruption’s aftermath and that it will take months before the evacuees could carry on again with their normal lives.

This, he said, prompted him to think of ways to better extend assistance to the victims, and such is by way of the said sports and entertainment event.

PNP Responders’ Mariano “Neil Perez” Flormata Jr.

It will be participated in by artists like Morisette, Imago, Clara Benin, Jayda, The Juans, The Wishfuls, Rhea Basco, Mark Herras, JayR, Rayver Cruz, Ejay Falcon, Young JV, Jordan Herrera, Adrian Alandy, James Blanco, Albie Casino, Gerhard Acao and Axel Torres.

Professional volleyball players and TV/movie personalities such as Gretchen Ho, Kathy Bersola, Claudia Barretto, Gwen Zamora, Roma Joy Doromal, Che Sindayen, Jem Ferrer, Patcharee Saengmuang, Sandy Delos Santos, Aya Fernandez, Casey Da Silva, Ana Gopico, Amanda Villanueva, Nicole Tiamzon, Heather Guino-o, and Erika Alkuino will also team up for a friendly volleyball match.

Poe wants proof ABS-CBN can still operate beyond franchise term

Robie de Guzman   •   February 17, 2020

Senator Grace Poe

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe called on her fellow legislators to ensure that broadcasting network ABS-CBN can still continue to operate beyond its franchise term while Congress deliberates on bills seeking to renew its franchise to protect more than 11,000 workers from displacement.

In a statement on Sunday, Poe said members of the House of Representatives should make their assurance to the ABS-CBN concrete by declaring it verbally or putting it into writing.

“Kahit sabihin pa nila na pwede naman ‘yan i-extend hanggang 2022, maganda siguro kung in writing o kaya at least verbally sabihin ng Kongreso, ‘We commit to give ABS-CBN through the National Telecommunications Commission a temporary permit to operate’ kasi hindi naman ‘yan nakasulat sa batas,” she said.

“’Yan ay kortesiya lamang na ibinibigay ng Kongreso at NTC. Hindi biro kung matigil ang operasyon dahil alam naman natin 11,000 trabaho ang apektado rito,” she added.

Poe made the remark after House leaders earlier said that the media giant could continue operating until 2022 or the end of the 18th Congress while its franchise is being discussed.

The senator last week filed Resolution No. 322 directing the Senate committee on public services, which she chairs, to conduct an inquiry to determine ABS-CBN’s compliance to the terms of its franchise. Several senators are supporting the resolution.

Poe said the Senate inquiry would focus on the network’s alleged violations, adding that all parties will be given an opportunity to air their side for the public to know the real issue.

“Walang perpekto. Ako ang isip ko diyan ay bukas dahil maraming nag-a-apply ng prangkisa, wala namang perpekto,” she said.

She added that the hearings would aid the senators in making a judgment when the franchise bill is transmitted to them for their deliberation.

The House of Representatives has yet to begin deliberations on the bills seeking to renew ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise which is set to expire on March 30, 2020. Congress goes on a break on March 11.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano earlier said the bills relating to the media network’s franchise are “not that urgent” since the National Telecommunications Commission will grant the company provisional authority to operate until 2022.

He also assured that the House of Representatives will conduct an impartial hearing on the issue.

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