October 13, 2009
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Tuesday filed Senate Bill 3480, which seeks to investigate the causes and costs of calamities such as those wrought by Tropical Storm Ondoy (international name “Ketsana”) and Typhoon Pepeng (international name “Parma”) and recommend measures to prevent the occurrence of similar tragedies.
SB 3480 is called “An Act creating a commission to conduct a comprehensive fact-finding investigation of the causes, circumstances, costs and actions to be taken in light of the disasters and calamities due to Tropical Storm Ondoy and Typhoon Pepeng, recommend measures to prevent the occurrence of similar tragedies brought about by these calamities, and for other purposes.”
Pangilinan states in his bill: “Despite [the issuance of Presidential Decree No. 1898], the government failed to deliver the basic needs like food, clothing and shelter [to] the typhoon-stricken victims in Manila and nearby provinces. Pre-emptive evacuation was not strictly implemented. Medical assistance was not timely rendered. Relief operations were unreasonably delayed. In light of the recent calamities, a national commission should be created to undertake fact-finding investigation of the causes, circumstance, costs and actions to be taken in order to avoid the massive destruction caused by typhoon Pepeng and tropical storm Ondoy.”
Aside from the fact-finding investigation, the roles of the proposed Commission shall be: to receive, review and evaluate evidence relevant to the investigation; recommend a rehabilitation plan to replace and repair damaged infrastructure; and turn over to the “appropriate prosecutorial authorities all evidence involving any person when in the course of its investigation”; among others.
Pangilinan says, “We cannot just sit idly by and watch calamity after calamity destroy the lives of our fellow Filipinos. In a tropical country that experiences at least 20 storms a year, our actions should no longer be reactive but preventive.”
“Libu-libo ang namamatay sa ganitong mga kalamidad; kalian pa tayo kikilos? Hihintayin ba nating ang ating mga sariling pamilya at mahal sa buhay ang mawala bago tayo gumawa ng solusyon sa mga trahedyang ito? Hindi na puwede ang ganito.”
“The government has run out of excuses to give, and the public can no longer accept these excuses when lives are at stake,” Pangilinan added.