THE SENATE minority bloc has called for an assessment of the government’s response to typhoon Odette, internationally known as Rai, to determine policy and funding needs in the continued recovery efforts.

Senate Resolution 976, filed Monday, directs the Senate finance committee to “conduct a thorough evaluation of government response including gaps and structural inefficiencies, and identify the needs for rehabilitation, recovery, and reconstruction, including the corresponding budgetary and policy requirements.”

It was signed by Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon and Senators Ana Theresia “Risa” N. Hontiveros-Baraquel, Leila M. de Lima, and Francis “Kiko” N. Pangilinan. 

“Many families remain without a decent roof over their heads, groping in the dark, with scarce food and clean water. We must not forget that heavy task lies ahead to help Odette victims rise,” said Mr. Pangilinan in a statement on Thursday. 

Odette, tagged by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs as the second deadliest disaster to hit the globe in 2021, 

struck central and southern parts of the Philippines last month. 

It affected over 2.34 million families and left damage to infrastructure and agriculture worth P17.2 billion and almost P16 billion, respectively.  

Under the resolution, the assessment of government response and relief efforts should be done with the goal of protecting the people and improving the existing National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework.

“These (typhoons) have catastrophic economic, environmental, and social impacts. Typhoon Odette and previous natural disasters have revealed the vulnerabilities and problems in the present framework, in government policies, as well as public spending for disaster response. Government must address these to be prepared for future shocks and disasters,” the authors wrote in the resolution. 

Meanwhile, the Japanese government has exchanged notes verbale with representatives of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for an aid program for Odette survivors, its embassy in Manila announced Thursday.

IOM will receive $4.2 million to fund shelter repair kits and emergency medical equipment, among other aid initiatives.

“This project partnership of the IOM with the Catholic Relief Services and CARE Philippines will indirectly benefit an estimated total of 64,681 individuals,” the Japanese Embassy said in a statement.

The project is part of the $13 million or about P663-million Emergency Grant Aid that Japan committed on Jan. 14 to provide to the Philippines. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan