Monday Nov, 29 2021 05:36:56 AM

Bill filed to create disaster risk management agency in BARMM for unified disaster response

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 17:45 PM Wed Nov 24, 2021
MP Amir Mawallil
MP Bai Intan Ampatuan speaks during planning sessions with other members of parliament in this file photo

COTABATO CITY - Bangsamoro Parliament Member Engr. Baintan Adil Ampatuan has filed a bill last week seeking to create a disaster risk management agency within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Bangsamoro Transition Authority Bill No.153 is titled “An Act Strengthening Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, thereby Creating the Ministry of Disaster Resilience, Establishing its Powers and Jurisdictions, Providing Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes.”

Ampatuan said that BARMM “is very vulnerable and prone to calamities, both natural and human-induced disasters. Based on the 2014 World Risk Report, the Philippines placed second in the World Risk Index.”

She also noted that the disaster risk factors in the region include “an annual national average of 20 typhoons, of which five (5) to nine (9) cause significant damage; 25 active volcanoes in the region; earthquakes and landslide threats in the country and; human-induced disasters caused by extremist militant groups such as the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), among others, in the BARMM.”

“The Marawi siege, as well as the BIFF and ASG’s intermittent attacks in some BARMM areas, are manifestations of these human-induced disasters,” she added.

BARMM is classified as one of the poorest regions in the country, and is likely to feel the destructive effects of disasters more keenly than the regions of the country that are thriving better: “We also have to acknowledge that we have fewer resources to prevent, mitigate, face, and cope with the aftermaths of disasters. Disasters hit the underprivileged the hardest, and so many of our constituents are disadvantaged.”

Ampatuan’s measure, which mustered support from over 50 members of parliament who stood as co-sponsors of the bill, seeks to create the Ministry of Disaster Resilience to serve as the primary Bangsamoro Government institution “responsible for ensuring safe, adaptive, and disaster-resilient communities.”

She noted that, in BARMM, “various ministries are in charge of implementing disaster response, preparedness, prevention and mitigation, and the necessary rehabilitation and recovery programs and projects. Yet there is not one single devoted or focused ministry for disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) working to build disaster resilience in the Bangsamoro region.”

If passed, the bill will give the Ministry of Disaster Resilience leadership in crafting and implementation of comprehensive and strategic frameworks, and plans to reduce the risks posed by all types of natural hazards, mitigate the effects of climate change, and manage the impact of disasters with the primordial goal of saving lives and minimizing damage to property and the region’s economy.

“The enactment of this bill will, hopefully, address the fragmentation in Disaster Risk Management interventions from response to rehabilitation and recovery,” she said. “Investing in preparedness, prevention and mitigation are key to managing climate and disaster risks and pandemics. It will also enhance the capacity of local government units for faster responses and effective recovery and rehabilitation.”

According to Ampatuan, “if our government invests in disaster risk preparedness, mitigation, and reduction, over time it can reduce the potential losses, thus freeing up critical resources for development.”

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