Zubiri: Who’s In Charge Of Disaster Management?

MOST READ

In the plenary session devoted to the 2021 budget deliberations on Wednesday, the Senate took on the budget for the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and its attached agencies.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri took to the floor to raise concerns regarding the government’s disaster management-adjacent agencies, in the wake of destructive typhoons Rolly and Quinta.

He had traveled to the provinces of Catanduanes, Albay, Sorsogon, and Camarines Sur over the weekend to extend assistance to typhoon-struck communities and to hear out concerns raised by provincial and local government officials.

Zubiri brought up that the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) is claiming that it needs a go signal from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to release dam water ahead of time, which would have prevented the severe floods that inundated parts of Luzon after Typhoon Ulysses.

PAG-ASA officials, communicating through DOST budget sponsor Senator Joel Villanueva, refuted this, explaining that NIA remains in full control over dam discharge operations.

They said they did follow protocol by releasing a flood warning signal on November 8 but that they have no authority to order the release of dam water.

Zubiri also relayed questions from the government of Albay, particularly regarding the municipality of Guinobatan, which was ravaged by lahar flow.

The local government is claiming that it did not receive a warning from the proper agencies, and was unable to prepare for the disaster.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), meanwhile, is claiming to have followed protocol and to have issued bulletins to the proper offices ahead of time. It falls on the local government, it explained, to cascade this information down.

“Nagtuturuan po tayo (They’re pointing fingers). We have no clue who is in-charge,” Zubiri said. “Don’t you think it’s about time that we have one agency that is supposed to take charge? Do all the planning, the preparation, the rehabilitation, and climate change mitigation efforts?”

“I was always being asked the same thing, in Albay, in Catanduanes: Who’s in charge? Sabi ko (I said) OCD, pero ang sagot nila, ‘Sir, hindi po namin nakikita ’yung head ng OCD kasi head rin ng NDRRMC iyan.’ At yung OCD, undersecretary ang head, awkward namang pag-utusan niya ang mga secretaries (but their answer, ‘Sir we did not consult with the head of the OCD because he is also the head of the NDRRMC’. And the OCD, undersecretary is the head. It is awkward to order around the secretaries),” he said.

Zubiri promised that a hearing addressing the recent disasters, and disaster management problems, will be held in the Senate next week.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest News

Roque Says He Has No Control Over Crowd In Cebu

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he had no control over a mass gathering in Cebu where he delivered a speech, saying it was the local government that organized the event held on Nov. 27.

Gordon Thanks SoKor For P10-M Aid For Typhoon Victims

Philippine Red Cross chairman and CEO Senator Richard Gordon thanks the South Korea government for donating nearly PHP10-million as humanitarian assistance for families and communities affected by Super Typhoon Rolly and Typhoon Ulysses.

Año Opposes Holding Of Face-To-Face Classes

Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año opposes proposals to resume the holding of face-to-face classes in schools at this time, saying it might cause a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Duterte Enjoins Pinoys To Draw Inspiration From Bonifacio’s Heroism

President Rodrigo Duterte joins the nation in commemorating the 157th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, urging Filipinos to draw inspiration from the heroism of the supreme leader (Supremo) of the Katipunan amid the prevailing COVID-19 health crisis.

Roque Defends Duterte’s Sexist Jokes: ‘Let’s Take A Joke For What It Is’

ROQUE: "Let's not give too much meaning to the jokes of the president. The president is really just like that, and he can't change anymore because he's already in his 70s."

Roque Congratulates Tricia Robredo: ‘Sa Panahon Ng Pandemya, Talagang Kayo Po Ang Mga Bagong Bayani’

Roque previously accused Tricia and Aika Robredo of triggering the #NasaanAngPangulo trend during the Typhoon Ulysses.

House Welcomes Passage Of 2021 Nat’l Budget In Senate

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco welcomes the timely passage of the proposed PHP4.506-trillion national budget for 2021 in the Senate.

Galvez: Gov’t, Private Sector To Ink Deal For 2-M AstraZeneca Vaccines

National Policy against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. announces the government and the private sectors are set to sign a tripartite agreement for two million doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine.

Gatchalian To Raise Issues On Erroneous Learning Materials In Senate hearing

Senator Win Gatchalian, to raise the errors in the DepEd modules on the next Senate hearing.

Bello: DOLE Orders Release Of Deferred Holiday Pay For Private Workers

The Department of Labor and Employment orders private companies to release the deferred holiday pay of their workers before the end of the year.