NCDM – A Coordinator, Not Operator
The fact that I have taken the forum, I do not mean to respond to what were raised by previous speakers. I think that people can draw a judgment on this. I just wanted to make some clarifications on issue relating to responsibility. The law that we have compiled here should be a roadmap for disaster management in our country – at both national and sub-national levels. Though I was not present but I followed closely opinions expressed by members of the National Assembly. (I wish to clarify that) the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) is just a coordinating mechanism while all implementations are left to operators. Who are the operators? They are ministries and state institutions created by laws and they have been given budget already. Take for instance, should the situation requires deployment of army to places where incidents occur, the army may be deployed while the Ministry of National Defense already has its budget. They also have the means at regional, divisional or provincial military region levels. Should there be a need for the police force, the Ministry of Interior, which is its budget holder.
I just wanted to stress on this point. HE Dr. Aun Porn Moniroth may want to make further clarification on this so that there will be understanding on issue of budgetary expenses. There are only institutions created by law that possess the rights to be budget holder/manager of those expenses. Those institutions that are created by Royal Decree such as the National Committee for Disaster Management/NCDM, their budget will be annexed to the expenses of the Council of Ministers. As for their expenses, as was raised by speakers in the case of NCDM, it is relating mostly to post-disaster phase or the rehabilitation period.
While so, in the rehabilitation phase, NCDM has had to exercise according to objective and target too. For example, if it is relating to agricultural issue, the institution in charge of the task will be the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The ministry will have to be the one that is getting seeds ready for instance. There shall be no need for the Royal Government to give more money in that phase. The Royal Government will do so only if the size of the disaster overpasses that of the relevant ministry’s ability. We are clarifying to achieve transparency and stringency through refraining from misspending.
Preparing for Coming Disaster – Phase I
As for other measures concerned, I just wish to emphasize that as far as a disaster is concerned there should be three stages of consideration. The initial stage would be the period preparing for the coming disaster. We always sit down and make strategic plan at both national and sub-national levels, in which we also strengthen our institutional capacity with regard to their preparedness. Even in the national budgeting, there has a section that is registered as “yet to be distributed.” We hold the budget under this section for dealing with cases of flooding or drought. They are there till end of the month. Until we were certain that there are no such calamities to deal with, we will distribute the reserved and unused fund for other sectors.
Phase ii of disaster would be the disaster in progress itself. In this stage, there is no discussion. Action is required. Operation will be in full swing. The operating level will not be resting on shoulder of NCDM also but the whole national forces. I would like to take this opportune moment to delineate what should and should not be termed as disaster. For instance, a snake bite is not a disaster issue and the task should be left for the Ministry of Health to take care of it. Would four or five house on fire be classified as a disaster? It is but it should not be a disaster at a level that requires intervention from the NCDM.
Relating to any occurred emergency, a combined national force must be exercised to save human lives and their properties. HE Nhem Vanda always refers to this kind of intervention force as combined forces. That is why every time there was a disaster we saw that there were massive forces in operation. We must be able to delineate normal from national disaster, which requires urgent deployment and operation of the armed forces which combine the army, the police and the assistance provided by the Cambodian Red Cross.
Challenge an Oath on Stealing Votes and Biased CRC
There has been thing that is impossible to understand. I think there is only one option to resolve it. Maybe there should be an oath that (if they are not true one should be) hit by lightning. I will ask HE Sam Rainsy when he returns to take oath before the Royal Flag Pole Dang Koeu’s spirits on those issues. Firstly, the issue of stealing votes. I think we must take oath together. Anyone who dare not take the oath should be deemed cheating people. Secondly, the Cambodian Red Cross has been commented to have distributed its humanitarian assistance in a discriminatory manner. I think the only way to deal with this is to challenge an oath taking (that if they are not true, those who said them) should be hit by lightning. I think I will take this to the attention of HE Sam Rainsy when he returns.
Now I am talking publicly in the National Assembly and will there be any party to take an oath with the Cambodian People’s Party? Before the spirits of the Royal flag pole of Dang Koeu, (we swear that) if the Cambodian People’s Party did steal the votes, everyone in the Cambodian People’s Party must be punished by death of lightning strikes, etc. However, if anyone did lie about and make false accusation, it should be their fate then. I am not taking the issue of the Cambodian Red Cross being bias to defend my wife. I think with respect to the culture of dialogue, both parties should go take oath before the spirits of the Royal flag pole of Dang Koeu. Whoever fails to do so should deem to have cheated the people.
Your opinions expressed here are justified. However, please take note of what you said – “Khmer listen to the Vietnamese (say)” as “Cambodia has had to request permission from Vietnam to export goods.” Where is your proof? You said HE Var Kim Hong dares not reveal the map. Did your leader say anything to you yet? I talked with HE Sam Rainsy about this issue in Kuala Lumpur. Did he tell you about it? Or is it that your leader does one way and you under his leadership go the other? Can he not control his people? How could you go all the way to accuse the Royal Government of using a fake map? Why on earth being a government and use the fake map? Why only you could be patriotic? I already took over five hours to explain on the issue. If there is a need, national television (TVK) or all TV channels should play it again. They may start this evening. I already made it clear on the map.
Disaster in Progress – Phase II
As soon as this phase of disaster arrives (we must) operate at all cost to rescue our people. It is not a new issue. I was elected by secret votes 100 per cent on 15 January 1985, if I may remind you, to hold the post of President of the Council of Ministers or in other word the Prime Minister. In my statement (to accept the duty) I said that deity had tried me. Why did I say so? It was because there was a flood in 1984 and a severe drought in 1985. I put out a policy in the National Assembly and I spoke publicly in the district of Kompong Trabek of Prey Veng province, HE Cheam Yiep was the governor then, to leave no one to die from hunger without our knowledge and without coming up with a solution.
Well, (when there was problem) you fled to France. Now that you came back saying things like that, people are not feeling easy with it. I do not say it to protect my wife. I invite you to challenge the position of the President of the Cambodian Red Cross, if you can. Will you take an oath to have your life taken by strike of lightning (should what you said be untrue)? Could you verify if there is not even a single CNRP voter ever receive (CRC) assistance? Or do you mean voters in the whole country are all CPP voters?
Post-Disaster Action – Phase III
In the post disaster phase, the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) must have all the data concerned for evaluation. However, concerning water canals and/or water reservoirs, it would be up to the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology to intervene and repair using their own budget. If the size of destruction to deal with exceeds its capacity, then the Ministry will request for more. If there is a need for pumping water into the rice field, the Ministry of Water Resource and Meteorology also will have to take up the task. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries should be the one that provides seed or administers common seedling beds. You could have seen the common seedling beds in Kompong Thom in 2011.
Lowering Microfinance Interest Rate
You may redefine what these activities are. Some speakers talked about lowering microfinance interest rates. It is not a new thing for the Royal Government. (We do it) without having to be requested by members of the opposition parties too. The Royal Government always works with microfinance on this issue. Only that we do not take political advantage by talking of it. You may ask HE Keat Chhon, former Minister of Economy and Finance, and current Minister HE Aun Porn Moniroth, as they work on this on a regular basis. They really work on it but never talk in the National Assembly session.
Please understand that I have the need to clarify some of the issues relating to what was said the other day about the coordinating mechanism. Why there is a need for it? If we were to create a ministry for disaster management, it would not be workable as the National Committee would have the participations of Ministers of National Defense, Interior, Economy and Finance as vice chairmen, while there is a need for one permanent vice chairman to take care of the day-to-day operation. As I clarified, actions, human resource, budget, materials and operators are to be carried out and/or provided by institutions created by laws to be appointed by Royal Decree as members of the disaster management committee./.