Executive Order No. 34 - Creating Overseas Preparedness and Response Team

WHEREAS, it is in the national interest that the safety and welfare of overseas Filipinos be accorded primordial importance;
WHEREAS, natural disasters, civil unrest, armed conflicts and similar crises in foreign countries expose overseas Filipinos to immediate hazards and risks;
WHEREAS, there is a necessity for various government agencies that take the lead in addressing the concerns of overseas Filipinos, to focus on their real and actual capabilities in the efficient and effective delivery of services and resources to the overseas Filipinos, thereby insuring their safety and security especially In times of crisis.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BENIGNO S. AQUINO III, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, do hereby order the following,
SECTION 1. Creation – There is hereby created an Overseas Preparedness and Response Team, hereinafter referred to as OPRT, under the Office of the President, The OPRT shall replace the Presidential Middle East Preparedness Committee, hereinafter referred to as PMEPC, created under Executive Order No. 159 (s. 2002).
SECTION 2. Functions - The following are the functions, duties, and responsibilities of the OPRT:
(a) Subject to the approval of the President, anticipate strategies and programs, formulate policies and focus on appropriate responses to natural disasters, civil unrest, armed conflicts, and other similar crises in foreign countries affecting overseas Filipinos;
(b) Develop and adopt interactive operating arrangements among agencies, formulate strategies, and integrate agency plans to effect maximum coordination and proper resolution of concerns that may arise during crises;
(c) Implement all policies, plans, strategies, and modes for coordination that are approved by the President, and monitor their implementation accordingly;
(d) Review and update the individual contingency plans submitted by the Philippine Embassies and Consulates General, undertake continuing assessment of the said plans, conduct threat and environmental scanning, and provide policy and operational guidance to ensure the safety and welfare of overseas Filipinos;
(e) Formulate contingency plans for the following regions and review/update these plans every six (6) months:
i. Middle East and Africa;
ii. Asia, Australia, and the Pacific;
iii. Americas; and
iv. Europe.
(f) Establish a pool of crisis management experts, technical experts, and trained personnel from the OPRT member-agencies to form rapid reaction teams;
(g) Authorize the deployment of rapid reaction teams to crisis-hit areas with a significant concentration of Filipinos;
(h) Authorize the dispatch of additional personnel to reinforce Philippine Embassies and Consulates General for a duration of up to three (3) months, subject to extension, to ensure systematic repatriation and relocation activities, among others;
(i) Establish a monitoring mechanism that regularly gathers and updates information on the identities and locations of overseas Filipinos particularly in crisis-prone regions;
(j) Call upon, for assistance, any department, bureau, office, or agency of the government, or private sector partners (such as employment, recruitment, or manning agencies), and coordinate with and/or seek the assistance of bilateral and multilateral partners to formulate and/or implement plans, programs and policies;
(k) Conduct regular workshops on risk reduction and crisis management among concerned government agencies;
(I) Prepare a comprehensive communication plan that will apprise the public on government actions to ensure the safety of Filipinos in crisis situations;
(m) Direct and conduct other preparedness and contingency measures as may be required by the crisis situation; and,
(n) Exercise other functions and powers as may be assigned by the President.
SECTION 3. Composition - The OPRT shall be composed of the following officials;
(a) Executive Secretary- Chairperson
(b) Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) Concerns- Member
(c) Foreign Affairs Secretary- Member
(d) Labor and Employment Secretary- Member
(e) National Defense Secretary- Member
(f) Justice Secretary- Member
(g) Interior and Local Government Secretary- Member
(h) Budget Secretary- Member
SECTION 4. Secretariat - The OPRT Secretariat shall be composed of officials from the OPRT member-agencies. It shall provide administrative and related support services to the team.
The Secretariat shall be headed by a senior official designated by the Executive Secretary.
SECTION 5. Funding - The initial funding requirement for the operation of the OPRT shall be sourced from the Contingent Fund of the Office of the President and such other sources as may be identified by the Department of Budget and Management. Annual funding requirements thereon of the OPRT shall be included in the general appropriations.
The remaining funds, properties and other assets of the PMEPC are hereby transferred to the OPRT.
SECTION 6. Repealing Clause - Executive Order No. 159 (s. 2002), Executive Order No. 20 (s. 2011) and all other issuances, rules and regulations, or parts thereof, which are inconsistent with this Executive Order, are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
SECTION 7. Separability Clause - If any provision of this Executive Order is declared invalid or unconstitutional, the other provisions not affected thereby shall remain valid and subsisting.
SECTION 8. Effectivity - This Executive Order shall take effect immediately upon publication in a newspaper of general circulation.
DONE, in the City of Manila, this 6th day of April in the year of Our Lord, Two Thousand Eleven.
By the President
Executive Secretary