MANILA. Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has called on Congress and even future leaders to amend the provision in the current disaster management law with regard to the declaration of a state of calamity.
Republic Act No. 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 (DRRM Act) is a law that transforms the Philippines’ disaster management system from disaster relief and response towards disaster risk reduction (DRR). It was approved on May 27, 2010.
The President made the appeal amid criticisms on the seeming delay in declaring a state of calamity in areas severely affected by Typhoon Odette.
Duterte said that he first had to await damage assessment from concerned government agencies and local government units which the law requires before making such a declaration.
“Bago ako makagalaw, and that is really so many provisions in the law that would hinder the government to just act immediately because there has to be… before a declaration there has to be an evaluation and assessment of damage before you can declare a state of calamity. These are stupid laws passed by Congress. Sila man ang final word diyan. Whether it should be or should be not,” Duterte said.
He called on Congress to amend the provision pertaining to declaring a state of calamity so that appropriate funds will be immediately released for typhoon-hit areas.
“That law should be changed, and it behooves upon this Congress if they want to, or the next president, may I advise, to try to repeal the law. So that government, there is already a warning hindi na kailangan ng assessment,” he said.
By declaring a state of calamity, concerned agencies will be able to release and use calamity funds and implement a price freeze on basic commodities.
Meanwhile, the President warned individuals or entities that will take advantage of the victims of the typhoon.
“Kung totoo, I am just giving you the warning, ‘pag nahuli kayo ng DTI or nahuli kayo ng pulis, we will ask them to arrest the hoarders and people who are taking advantage of the situation,” Duterte said.
Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez assured the President that DTI personnel are deployed to closely monitor establishments and ensure that no one is taking advantage of the predicament of the typhoon victims. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)