It is Crucial to Expedite Typhoon- related Bills for Public Welfare

Geography tells that the Philippines is an archipelago located on the Western rim of the Pacific Ocean, an area naturally visited by cyclones in the planet affecting the country’s weather exposing it to multiple typhoon’s occurrences. In conjunction with this natural phenomenon, the current and the fast-approaching months will be a calamity time in most areas of the Philippines. Over the years, we have been extremely experiencing tough typhoons that yielded devastation to human lives, property and livelihood resulting to multiple social and economic instabilities. The typhoon-yielding calamities needed to be addressed as Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago vigilantly perceives its urgency for over-all public security. And to solve these unceasingly stirring problems, she has been passing relevant bills to be urgently mandated by the country’s law-making bodies for their swift implementations.

Senator Santiago urged her colleagues in the senate to pass the bills she has authored as early as this month which primarily focus on enhancing typhoon management and how disaster risk- reduction are to be handled.

She expressed that most of the typhoon-related laws she wrote are still pending at the senate not to mention the previously approved bills she personally wrote and the bills she co-authored with other law-makers pertaining to youth involvement on their readiness when typhoon disasters occur. According to her, “three of her bills have been lingering at the committee since year 2013 which included Senate Bill (S.B.) No. 394, or the so-called the Flood Recovery Fund (FRF) bill; S.B. No. 1576, known as the National Flood and Research Education (NFRE) bill; and S.B. No. 1724, which is the Culvert Safety bill.”

The FRFB bill filed in July 2013, supports the poor victims for speedy financial assistance in the form of no-interest loans from the grant the proposed law will be able to form.

The NFRE bill, filed in September 2013, focused on creating an Office of Flood Research and Policy (OFRP) to develop best practices for predicting and preventing flood and its effects.

Aside from the other pending bills since September 2013 is the senator’s Culvert Safety (CS) bill, which seeks to ensure that culverts or open sewers are suitably covered with warning signs to prevent people from accidents during the flood.

It also worthy to recall that in September 2014, Santiago filed S.B. No. 2376, aimed at mandating the Department of Education to include basic swimming as physical education subjects in elementary and secondary school curricula. According to the senator who is a swimming champion herself says that, “This bill aims to prepare children against floods,” She mentioned a study conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) which reported that drowning is the second leading cause of death among Filipino children aged 14 years and below, and the fourth leading cause of death with injury in the country.

While the senator is asking the community to back-up her flood-related bills for the senate committees for immediate approval, Santiago saluted the endorsement of her bill during the third and final reading called the Youth Participation in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (YPCDRRM) bill or the Senate bill (S.B.) No. 2789.

In a press release published on June 14, 2015 in her website, it reported that in January 2015, she filed Senate Bill No. 2561, or “the National Flood Insurance bill, which is for the purpose of augmenting state-funded disaster assistance and meeting the escalating costs of repairing damage to residential and other buildings and their contents. If this will be approved, this bill would be able to frame National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which will enable people living in flood-exposed areas to acquire insurance against loss caused by physical damages or the loss of real or personal properties resulted by any flood-related calamity.” As of May 14, 2015, the senator has filed almost a total of 1,249 bills and resolutions since the 16th Congress that started in June 2013.

The senate should spend most of their time deliberating these crucial bills to ensure the safety and welfare of the Filipino community instead of exaggerated participation on issues that temporarily and worthlessly publicize their senatorial moves which squander valuable time. It is sad to note that public officers who have sturdy concern regarding public welfare are stricken by ailments like the case of Senator Defensor while others are unexpectedly removed from public offices. Most of the remaining officers for public trust greedily and steadily occupy their “thrones” without sensible manifested concern to resolve the increasing country’s dilemma which constantly confront Filipino society./ marvinwacnaglidawan@gmail.com.