The quake that was felt in parts of Luzon including areas in Metro Manila on Wednesday is a wake-up call to strengthen the government’s disaster resilience and response mechanism especially at the local level, Sen. Robinhood “Robin” C. Padilla said.
Padilla also said the Medical Reserve Corps and mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) mentioned by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in his State of the Nation Address last Monday would be a big help in this regard.
“Siguro ang palakasin muna natin kasi meron tayong mga regional disaster (response), na nandiyan na sila. Palakasin natin sila, bigyan ng pondo. Ang gusto ko lang imungkahi palagi, bigyan natin ng kalayaan ang regional na magdesisyon sa sarili nila. Kasi ang pagresponde depende kung sinong teritoryo kung sino taga doon mas alam nila (What we should strengthen first is our regional disaster response. Beef up funding if needed. Give them the autonomy to make decisions because they are the ones most familiar with their areas of responsibility),” said Padilla, who was in his office when the quake hit.
He said this is why although he trusts that the Senate building would withstand the quake, he followed the advice of Senate officials to evacuate it.
“Kailangan po natin magdagdag (ang pagiging handa). May magandang panukala ang ating mahal na Pangulong Marcos na magkaroon ng medical (reserve) corps. Bukod po yun sa pagmandato sa ROTC. Kailangan natin gawin yan at ganoon din dati noong 18th Congress, alam ko na-filed ito ni Sen. Bong Go, na mahandaan sa ganitong mga disaster. Siyempre sa climate change di natin maiwasan ito lalo na ang Pilipinas, lagi tayong tinatamaan (We must be more prepared. President Marcos’ call for a medical reserve corps and mandated ROTC will be needed. Also during the 18th Congress, Sen. Bong Go filed a bill stressing the need for disaster resilience. We need such measures especially now that we are feeling the effects of climate change),” he added.
Padilla said he was in his office on the fifth floor of the Senate building and was preparing for a briefing by his legal team when he felt the quake.
“Nakita ko ang tuwalya gumaganun sabi ko lumilindol. Sinabi ko sa kasama ko lumilindol ha, walang magpa-panic (I saw the towel swaying and I thought there is a quake. I told my staff that there is a quake, but told them not to panic),” aniya.
Also, Padilla said he prayed for everyone’s safety and called his family to make sure they are safe as well.