MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives approved on second reading the bill requiring government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to translate disaster and emergency-related information and advisories to Filipino and appropriate regional language or dialect to make them more understandable.
During Tuesday’s session, the lower chamber approved through voice voting House Bill No. 8943 or the “Language Accessibility of Public Information on Disasters Act.”
Under the measure, all government agencies and LGUs are mandated to convert in an easily understandable form and translate to Filipino and any other appropriate regional language or dialect all their announcements, advisories, press releases, issuances, and any other information relevant to disaster or emergency.
This includes the following:
Tropical cyclones, signals, and other advisories by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa);
Volcano, earthquake, tsunami and landslide advisories and bulletins by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs);
Announcements, bulletins, and other advisories of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (LDRRMCs);
Network of Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils composed of national, regional, provincial, city, and municipal DRRM councils and barangay DRRM committees;
Information on epidemics, outbreaks and public health emergencies of the Department of Health;
Advisories and warnings released by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau, human-induced hazards, Bureau of Fire Protection advisories, and Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police human security concerns;
Information on the social amelioration program, emergency assistance, and other social protection measures of the Department of Social Welfare and Development
“The translation of the information covered by this Act shall be to Filipino and other regional language/s or dialect/s, as deemed necessary by the government agency and local government unit concerned considering the geographical location of the affected communities and the intended recipients of the information,” the bill states.
“The translated information shall be disseminated as widely as possible through all available media and communication channels,” it adds.
The measure still needs to be approved on the third reading to hurdle the House.
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