House panels pass bill creating Department of Disaster Resilience

Mara Cepeda

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House panels pass bill creating Department of Disaster Resilience

Manman Dejeto

Lawmakers approve the measure at the committee level weeks after a series of earthquakes rocked parts of Mindanao

MANILA, Philippines – The House committees on government reorganization and disaster management gave their nod to a bill creating the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR).

On Wednesday, November 20, lawmakers in the two panels headed by Batangas 5th District Representative Mario Mariño and Leyte 4th District Representative Lucy Torres Gomez, respectively, approved the still-unnumbered substitute bill consolidating all measures re-filed in the House establishing the new department.

The House had passed on 3rd reading a similar measure in the previous 17th Congress in October 2018. But the Senate ran out of time to pass its counterpart bill.

Under this new House bill, the DDR would primarily be responsible for overseeing and coordinating the preparation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of disaster and climate change resilience plans and programs.

It would be mandated to set standards for the construction of evacuation centers and work with local government units in the maintenance of these centers.

Section 94 of the bill also states the DRR would “exercise joint supervision” with the following departments over certain attached agencies:

  • Department of Science and Technology over Pag-asa and Phivolcs;
  • Department of Environment and Natural Resources over the Geo-Hazard; Assessment and Engineering Geology Section of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau;
  • Department of the Interior and Local Government over the Bureau of Fire Protection.

Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda, a principal author of the bill, said the DDR would receive an initial P10 billion from the national budget.

Malacañang once again urged lawmakers to fast-track the passage of the DRR bill after a series of strong earthquakes struck Cotabato and parts of Mindanao in late October.

President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier renewed his push for the creation of a Department of Disaster Resilience during his 4th State of the Nation Address in July. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.