MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he wants to “correct” a law requiring the assessment of reports on disaster areas on a state of calamity is declared before he steps down from office in June.
“I hope we can correct these things before we go out,” Duterte said in a prerecorded Talk to the People.
Duterte was possibly referring to Republic Act No. (RA) 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.
Expressing frustration over “anything that hinders or delays” government response, he said the law needed to be repealed to allow the next administration to better deal with all kinds of disasters.
“We can propose something like this…yung mga (some) corrective measures sa batas (in the law). Kasi the next time na wala na tayo (So when we are no longer here), at least yung (the) next administration would be in a position to deal with the problem faster and more sensible,” he added.
Duterte described the law as “really silly”, noting that it seemed that the authors of the law did not really take time to think it over.
“That provision in the law, it’s really silly. That’s what I call a silly law. I’m not referring to the present Congress, but kung anong Congress ‘yan, hindi talaga pinag-isipan ng husto (whatever Congress that is, they didn’t think it over),” he said.
He said the assessment of reports on disaster areas should only come after the calamity happened.
“It could be a post-disaster that would be done immediately. It would take time, but not a disaster that would…the assessment of which would really depend now on the ability of the Executive Department to release the money immediately,” he said.
He recalled his experience with Typhoon Odette, noting that the government had a “quandary” before declaring a state of calamity in typhoon-hit areas.
“Yung (The) assessment of the damage could only be done if given enough time which could not come immediately after the occurrence of the disaster,” he said.
Duterte expressed hope that Senator Christopher “Bong” Go could initiate efforts to repeal the law.
“I hope he can initiate the corrective measures that are badly needed to be done for us to comply with our duty commensurate to the time and the damage that is done whether it be a fire, landslide, bagyo (typhoon), earthquakes. These are the things that need immediate action,” he added.
In December, Duterte described waiting for the assessment of reports as a “hindrance” and “legal obstacle” that delayed his declaration of a state of calamity in areas battered by the typhoon and prevented the government from acting immediately.
Typhoon Odette pummeled several provinces particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao last month.
Duterte declared a state of calamity in Mimaropa (Region 4-B), Western Visayas (Region 6), Central Visayas (Region 7), Eastern Visayas (Region 8), Northern Mindanao (Region 10), and Caraga (Region 13) on Dec. 21. (PNA)