Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Phl disaster risk reduction is for everybody’s concern-Legarda

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 23, 2011-During the second hearing of the Senate Committee on Climate Change on the government’s disaster preparedness, Senator Loren Legarda urged the national government, the Local Government Units (LGU), the private sector and the citizenry to ensure that the country is ready to prevent hazards from turning into devastating disasters, saying that disaster risk reduction is everybody’s business and concern thus we all have to work together facing it.

Legarda reiterated the importance of a strong partnership between the government and the private sector in strengthening the country’s disaster preparedness and resilience, stressing that while the government is putting in places various disaster risk reduction (DRR) measures, the private sector should take the initiative of doing its share in such effort.

She explained that the government is mandated to ensure the security and welfare of the state’s citizens; it cannot do such a gargantuan task alone, saying that both the public and private sectors must ensure the public’s safety in case of earthquakes and other disaster.

The senator said that good urban governance is the key to earthquake safety that’s why the governments must relentlessly assess and rectify the vulnerability of public structures in their respective areas. “There is a need that the administrators of office buildings and malls to ensure safety in their premises and have contingency plans well in place and tested for preventing panic and stampede and handling the injured in the event of an earthquake.

“Both sectors must be united in coming up with an effective and widespread information campaign on disaster preparedness and must develop strategies that would help people understand natural hazards, identify the signs of an impending danger, and know what to do when disasters occur,” she said, pointing out that it is not enough that the government as an institution is prepared because no matter how up-to-date or high-tech the disaster prevention mechanisms are, they would not be effective if the public remains uninformed or misinformed of what they have to do during disasters.

“The national agencies like the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the Philippine Institute of Vulcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) need the help of local government units and the private sector in providing timely and accurate information to the people,” she said, adding that there is a need for the regular conduct of fire and earthquake drills in schools, hospitals, malls, office buildings, condominium units and other establishments to make sure that the public are provided with the necessary information in dealing with disasters. (Jason de Asis)

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