GORDON REITERATES NEED FOR STOCKPILING, WAREHOUSES TO FACILITATE DISASTER RESPONSE
With the country taking a battering from different disasters every year, Senator Richard J. Gordon reiterated the need for the government to preposition disaster response equipment and stockpile on strategic supplies to facilitate disaster response.
Gordon, who is also chairman and CEO of the Philippine Red Cross, stressed that having equipment and necessary supplies pre-positioned in strategically located warehouses would ensure immediate delivery of necessary response or aid.
“Madalas tayong sinasalanta ng mga bagyo, lindol, volcanic eruption, etc. at may mga epidemic pa at ngayon may COVID pandemic din. Mas mabilis tayong makakaresponde kapag may mga warehouse tayo sa iba’t ibang rehiyon at naka-preposition na dun ang mga equipment at may stockpile na din ng mga medical supplies at relief goods na kakailanganin. Mahalaga na lagi tayong handa dahil hindi natin laging masasabi kung kelan darating ang unos,” he said.
Gordon pointed out that the Red Cross has built warehouses in strategic locations in the country where disaster response vehicles and equipment are prepositioned. Stockpiles of food and non-food relief supplies are also kept in the warehouses.
“Kaya mabilis kaming makapapagpadala ng response kapag may mga disasters dahil naka-preposition na ang mga gamit at mga supplies namin. Halimbawa, kung ang bagyo tatama sa Bicol, sa Cagayan, Leyte, o saan man, nakahanda na ‘yung warehouse doon o ‘yung pinakamalapit na warehouse. Mas mabilis,” he said.
The senator, who chairs the Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises, filed Senate Bill No. 1347 earlier this year. The bill seeks to amend the charter of the Philippine International Trading Corporation in order to empower it to handle stockpiling in preparation for disasters or emergencies.
He said the PITC’s capital stock would be increased to ensure sufficient stocks of necessary supplies but there would be a provision for regular assessment of threats and inventory of stocks such as face masks, personal protective equipment, long shelf-life food like canned goods and rice, medicines, and blood bags, to name a few.
Gordon also explained that the bill authorizes the PITC to create warehouses in strategic places, like what other countries do, or make arrangements with manufacturers for the storage of the procured supplies.
“The idea is to preposition the equipment and strategic supplies so that when we need it, it’s out right away. And hindi iyong kakapa-kapa tayo,” he stressed during a hearing on the proposed bill.