PNG Speaker put on notice to recall Parliament

  13 Mar 2018

PORT MORESBY, 12 MARCH 2018 (POST COURIER) — Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has already put Speaker of Parliament on notice to recall Parliament for an emergency session for the declaration of a state-of-emergency and creation of a restoration authority for the earthquake-affected provinces.

O’Neill said the state-of-emergency could only be declared by Parliament, but for now the National Executive Council had only declared an emergency restoration for the relief aid to reach people affected by the 7.5 magnitude earthquake and aftershocks. [restrict]

“NEC has only declared an emergency so restoration efforts can be carried out because of the urgency for us to bring food, water, medicine and shelter to the affected communities particularly in Southern Highlands and Hela provinces.

“In terms of the Restoration Authority, the Attorney-General has already drafted the Authority Act, I have had a look at it and referred it to the First Legislative Counsel, which is the process of certifying the legislation before it goes to Parliament.

“Drafting of the legislation takes time, we have to do it properly, the powers that are going to be assumed by the Restoration Act goes across the board. I have received the first draft, given my clearance and with my thoughts on the draft to the First Legislative Counsel and I am certain that it will be cleared by weekend, by next week (this week) I will give a seven-day notice and be able to reconvene Parliament.

“I will be calling for an emergency session of parliament. I have already put the Speaker on notice, as soon as the clearance is given we will introduce the Act in Parliament.

“That will then take charge of the restoration programmes that we have already commenced, and I want to say that the restoration work is continuing to restore normalcy back into those communities,” Mr O’Neill said.

“More than 100 people have been confirmed dead, there are many more missing, that number is expected to rise, many communities have been torn apart and displaced and families are scattered everywhere, relief efforts are ongoing in providing immediate relief, that is, the supply of much needed medicine, food and water to the remote communities.

“In the last few days, we were able to carry about 120 tons of food, water and medicine to Moro, Kutubu, which has now been distributed to all the villages in the affected areas.”

O’Neill said during the FM100 Talkback show last Friday that relief and restoration work will continue over the next few weeks while awaiting the approval of the restoration authority, then all these efforts will be passed onto the restoration authority who will then take charge of the long term building of some of the infrastructure…..PACNEWS [/restrict]