Press Release
May 17, 2011

Congress drafts rules on disaster risk reduction and management

The Congressional Oversight Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (COCDRRM) met for the first time on Monday, May 16, to draft the rules of procedure that would enable it to oversee and monitor the implementation of Republic Act 10121, otherwise known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.

Last year, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed R.A. 10121 to strengthen the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRMC) and to institutionalize disaster risk management at all levels of government to better cope with the various calamities that hit the country every year.

The provisions of R.A. 10121 also called for the identification of the areas vulnerable to calamities, projected climate risks as well as the enhancement of disaster preparedness and response capabilities at all levels. It also appropriated for the Office of the Civil Defense P1-billion for its revolving fund as the lead agency.

The Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva ranked the Philippines No. 1 with the most number of disasters that hit a country worldwide.

COCDRRM Senate Committee Secretary Elpidio Calica said the Senate Oversight Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction was constituted during the plenary session last February. He said five senators, namely Alan Peter Cayetano, Gringo Honasan, Loren Legarda, Antonio Trillanes IV and Pia Cayetano, were named members of the committee.

"Sen. Panfilo Lacson, as chairman of the Committee of Defense, automatically became a chairman of the Congressional Oversight Committee pursuant to the provisions under R.A. 10121, Sec. 26," Calica explained.

Likewise, Calica added, as chairman of the Defense Committee at the House, Muntinlupa Representative Rodolfo Biazon automatically became Lacson's counterpart. The other members of the COCDRRM include Lanao del Sur Rep. Pangalian Balindong, Nueva Ecija Rep. Josefina Joson, Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, Ang Kasangga Rep. Teodorico Haresco and Camarines Sur Rep Diosdado Arroyo.

"Last Monday was an organizational meeting. The Congressional Oversight Committee will meet again in June for the adoption of the rules of procedure," Calica revealed.

This is primarily tasked to evaluate the accomplishments and impact of R.A. 10121 as well as the performance and organizational structure of its implementing agencies every five years or as necessary to ensure that it remains relevant at all times.

According to the COCDRRM rules of procedures, the Committeev has the authority to prescribe and adopt guidelines that will govern its work; recommend the adoption of legislation and other legislative measures pursuant to its findings; conduct hearings, investigations, receive testimonies and reports relevant to its mandate, summon by subpoena any witness to testify before it or require by subpoena to produce documents, books, records and other papers as may be necessary in the performance of its functions; and secure from any department, bureau, office or instrumentality of government any assistance as may be needed, including technical information, preparation and production of reports and submission of recommendations and plans as it may require.

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