"Living close to a river can be considered as ignoring a natural warning from floods, just like living at the foot of landslide-prone mountain slopes. The recent disasters in Cagayan, Iligan and elsewhere seemingly points to an endless trend on the loss of lives and property because people ignore natural disaster warnings,” said Rep. Roger Mercado (Lone District, Southern Leyte), author of House Bill 5791.
"It is a sad fact that these losses could have been prevented by the authorities given an enabling legislation," Mercado said.
The bill penalizes any person found guilty of violating the provisions of the proposed law with imprisonment ranging from six months to one year.
In case of juridical entities, the bill provides that the head of the entity shall be meted the penalty provided for under the measure.
The bill mandates the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) or their respective attached agencies to lead the implementation of the proposed act in coordination with the local government units.
Under the bill, the DPWH shall be the one to monitor landslide and flood-prone areas if any construction of houses or establishments or other habitable structures is being done or built by any entity or person and, if there are, to report any violation to the Philippine National Police for apprehension.
The DENR shall provide the DPWH and the local governments the necessary maps indicating the areas where structures are prohibited under the proposed act.