MANILA, Philippines – They are the future disaster managers so why not involve them now?
On June 8, the Philippine Senate approved on final reading amendments to the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act, seeking to tap the youth in disaster management.
Introduced by Senator Benigno Aquino IV, the RESCYouth Act will give the National Youth Commission (NYC) chairman a seat in the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC).
As a policy-making body, the NDRRMC is assigned to formulate a national disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) framework that provides for a “comprehensive, all hazards, multi-sectoral, inter-agency and community-based approach to disaster risk reduction and management.”
The youth sector will also be represented in the regional, provincial, city, municipal, and barangay disaster coordinating councils.
“The youth is playing a vital role in our pursuit of overall disaster resilience. They have served as a beacon of hope and catalyst of action,” Aquino said.
According to Senate President Franklin Drilon, the measure recognizes “the crucial and formative role of young Filipino men and women in making risk preparedness and disaster resiliency a part of the Filipino culture.”
Ball now in congressmen’s hands
NYC commissioner Dingdong Dantes welcomed the Senate’s approval of the proposed measure, noting that the “next step is to push our champions in the House to proceed with the follow through of its version.”
The House version of the bill has been approved on first reading. Various lawmakers earlier pledged to support the proposed amendment to the DRR law that will consolidate House Bill (HB) Nos. 5637, 5640, and 5758. They said the bill would pass before the end of the 16th Congress on Thursday, June 11. (READ: Belmonte, lawmakers back youth rep in disaster councils)
In May 2015, Dantes and other youth leaders trooped to the Senate and House of Representatives to lobby for the measure. (READ: Dingdong Dantes, NYC seek youth rep in disaster council)
Dantes explained how young people help in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery efforts of the government and the private sector:
- Use social media and technology to monitor critical information during disasters
- Spread information useful to affected communities and rescue groups
- Mobilize volunteers, collect donations, and organize relief operations
- Participate in efforts to protect the environment
“Now that our lawmakers are seeing the value of the youth’s involvement, it is also our duty to gear up and face the expectations of us. The time to act is now because we do not want another tragedy to happen,” Dantes challenged the youth.
Globally, for every 10 disaster victims, 4 to 5 are young people, making the sector one of the most vulnerable. – Rappler.com
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