Bong Go

Bong Go continues to push for DDR, mandatory evac centers, amendments to Natl Bldg. Code

September 27, 2022 People's Journal 118 views

SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go remains focused on building a more disaster-resilient nation as he continues to push for legislative measures aimed at effectively and efficiently dealing with natural and human-induced disasters and other calamities.

On Sunday, September 25, super typhoon Karding affected a large part of Luzon with heavy rains and strong winds, prompting the national government to suspend classes and work in all regions in Luzon on Monday. The highest emergency preparedness and response protocol has been issued by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council over Central and Southern Luzon, Bicolandia and Metro Manila.

Considering how natural disasters can seriously affect the country’s economy and put people’s lives at risk, the lawmaker refiled Senate Bill No. 1181, otherwise known as the Philippine Building Act of 2022, which aims to protect the people’s lives and mitigate the impact of disasters by setting standards and benchmarks that all buildings and structures must meet with, particularly the recommended structural stability and integrity designed to withstand disasters.

The proposed measure shall provide more effective regulation of planning, design, construction, occupancy, and maintenance of all public and private buildings and structures, promoting building resilience against natural and man-made disasters.

It shall also amend the National Building Code to ensure that all buildings and structures are built according to the principle of “building back better”.

“Ilang dekada na po ang nakalipas mula nang maging batas ang National Building Code of the Philippines. Naipasa po ito nung 1977 at mula noon, marami na po ang nagbago at marami na po tayong natutunan tungkol sa building safety dahil sa makabagong siyensya. Panahon na po upang ating pag-aralan ang pag-update sa National Building Code na ito,” Go cited.

“’Building back better’ requires that in the reconstruction of damaged structures, due consideration shall be given to the possibility of the disaster repeating itself. Ire-require din natin na ma-integrate ang disaster resilience measures sa paggawa ng rules and regulations, at sa reference standards para sa pagplano, pag-design, at pag-reconstruct ng mga bagong buildings and structures na itatayo,” explained Go.

The senator also reintroduced a bill that mandates the establishment of an evacuation center in every city, province and municipality nationwide. SBN 193 aims to ensure that disaster-affected families can take refuge in evacuation centers that are safe, dedicated and equipped with basic necessities.

In accordance with the specifications of the National Building Code of the Philippines, the evacuation centers shall be constructed and designed to withstand super typhoons or wind speeds of at least 300 kilometers per hour and seismic activity of at least 8.0 magnitude.

“More or less 20 typhoons ang pumapasok sa ating bansa bawat taon. Kaya naman napaka importante po ng disaster resiliency, especially since our geographic location makes us vulnerable to other disasters, such as earthquakes, landslides, storm surges and more,” he noted.

“Kaya kapag dumating po ang malakas na bagyo o anumang sakuna, dapat handa na po tayong tulungan ang ating mga apektadong pamilya. Kaya napakahalaga po na tayo ay makapagpatayo ng mga safe, permanent, and dedicated evacuation centers na may sapat na emergency packs, tulad ng kumot, tubig, gamot, at iba pang relief goods,” added Go.

Finally, the senator refiled SBN 188 which shall create the Department of Disaster Resilience. The said bill shall unify and streamline all responsibilities related to disaster preparedness and response, functions that are currently scattered across various departments and offices.

In this regard, the DDR is expected to provide a clearer chain of command, more responsive mechanisms and a more holistic, proactive approach in addressing crisis situations, given that natural disasters are considered “normal occurrences.”

The creation of the said department shall concentrate on three key result areas, namely: disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness and response, and recovery and building forward better.

“Ito pong departamentong ito, cabinet secretary level. Mayro’n pong mag-aasikaso at makikipag-coordinate with LGUs. Bago pa dumating ang bagyo, naka-preposition na po ang goods, ilikas po ang ating mga kababayan sa mas ligtas na lugar, at pag-alis po ng bagyo ay restoration of normalcy kaagad, ” said Go.

“Ilikas po ang mga kababayan natin sa ligtas na lugar. Pag-alis ng bagyo, restoration of normalcy po kaagad. Iyan po ang ninanais ng pagtatayo ng Department of Disaster Resilience,” he added.

Acknowledging the current mechanisms in place, the senator stressed the need to improve all measures and policies further to make certain that the government becomes ready and adaptive to the changing times.

“Palagi ko pong nababanggit na dapat palagi tayong one-step ahead tuwing may darating na sakuna. Hindi po natin maiiwasan ang pagdating ng bagyo, pero mas mabuti po na palagi tayong handa para maiwasan natin ang mas malaking pinsala,” urged Go.

“Kailangan na po talaga nating i-scale up ang preparedness and resiliency against disasters. Kaya naman po bilang inyong senador, patuloy ko pong ipaglalaban itong mga panukala na ito lalo na po at naniniwala ako na para ito sa ikakabuti ng ating bansa,” he ended.