Sunday, December 2, 2012

Legarda Urges LGUs, Public to Be Prepared for Typhoon Pablo

MANILA, December 3, 2012-Senator Loren Legarda today urged local government units and the public to be prepared and remain alert as Typhoon Pablo entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

“Let us heed the warning and the lessons of Ondoy, Pepeng and Sendong. Both the government and our people should have been prepared way before the typhoon entered the country,” said Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change.

According to PAGASA, Surigao del Sur and the Northern part of Davao Oriental were placed under Storm Signal No. 2, while 22 other areas in Visayas and Mindanao were placed under Signal No. 1, even as Typhoon Pablo weakened slightly on Monday morning.

“Our LGUs already know the disaster-prone areas based on their geo-hazard maps. Early warning should work to save lives and properties. People and settlements at risk of landslides should be relocated ahead of heavy rains. Risk awareness and political will are very important,” she remarked.

“Our communities should also clear the esteros and the waterways, pay attention to early warning systems and do not hesitate to evacuate once the signal to do so is given,” she added.

The Senator also said that “PAGASA is doing its best, and our monitoring and warning systems have greatly improved over the past few years. Let us pay attention to the news reports and help each other by disseminating information, whether through radio, text, television, or social networking sites. Let us also remember to relay only verified and official information so as not to create confusion.”

“The fusion of socio-economic realities and extreme climatic events demand scaled up efforts in reducing disaster and climate risks. But through concerted action and the participation of all citizens, we will be able to make it through these challenges,” Legarda concluded.

Legarda Highlights Best Practices in Climate Change Adaptation to Set Example for LGUs

MANILA, December 2, 2012-Senator Loren Legarda today underscored the best practices in climate change adaptation by communities and urged other local governments to follow suit, especially with the alarming statistics on disaster risks and the natural hazards expected to visit the country in the last month of the year.

“PAGASA officials already warned that the incoming Typhoon Pablo could even be stronger than Tropical Storm Sendong in 2011. Our LGUs should now be prepared for it,” said Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change.

“Furthermore, the warming global climate we are experiencing, which, according to a World Bank study, could even reach 4 Degrees Celsius, should make us all the more committed to increasing our efforts in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions while encouraging industrialized countries to do their share,” she added.

“We usually see images of devastation every time typhoons or earthquakes hit the country. But we also have examples of best practices in making communities disaster-resilient. It is time we take a look at these model communities and follow their example,” she stressed.

Legarda said that one of the best practices in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) in the Philippines is the Purok System in the Municipality of San Francisco in Camotes Island, Cebu, which won the 2011 UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction. The Purok System focuses on addressing the vulnerability of every barangay in the municipality by mobilizing local resources in creating local and practical solutions based on the unique needs of every community.

The Municipality of San Francisco, along with Makati City and Albay, is also among the UN’s 29 model communities worldwide that are exemplars in disaster risk reduction and management.

Makati City was included in the list for integrating DRR practices and policies in its system of governance, most especially in urban planning, health programs, disaster response and risk governance; while the Province of Albay was recognized for its focus on preparing comprehensive land use plans that address climate and disaster risks, and for investing in disaster-resilient infrastructure.

In Montalban, Rizal, a group of women farmers started to practice agroforestry to adapt to the prolonged wet season; while in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, a group of women fisherfolk reforested over a hundred hectares of mangrove areas to protect their settlements from storm surges and secure additional source of food for their families.

Meanwhile, the Province of Bulacan won the Best Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in the National Gawad Kalasag 2012 for its effective management of the dams in the province.

“We have many best practices that other LGUs can use as guide in crafting their own programs. Communities that have yet to establish DRR and CCA practices should start now with both a short-term plan for the natural hazards expected to come within the next months, and a long-term program to ensure disaster-resilient communities in the future,” Legarda concluded.


MANILA, December 2, 2012-Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada is pushing for the passage of a law which aims to protect the rights and lives of victims of internal displacement caused by armed conflicts, mass violence and natural disasters.
“Internally displaced persons do not enjoy adequate protection and assistance compared to their counterparts who crossed an internationally recognized border. They experience suffering, neglect and deprivation,” Sen. Estrada laments.
Section 3 of Senate Bill 530 defines “internal displacement” as “the forced or obliged movement of person or group of persons to flee or leave their homes or places of habitual residence, without crossing an internationally recognized State border, as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or other natural or human-made disasters.”
Sen. Estrada cites an online report1 saying that fighting rebel groups in Central Mindanao in 2008 caused the forced displacement of 600,000 persons.
In another instance, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reveals that during the onslaught of typhoon Juaning in July 2011, more than 123,000 families or 614,688 individuals were reported to have been evacuated.
“The Philippines ranked third after Burma and Indonesia as countries in Southeast
Asia with the most number of internally displaced persons and among the top forty (40) countries all over the world where internal displacement is considered as a significant phenomenon. Counterinsurgency operations and related military activities under the government's war on terrorism were identified as the leading causes of conflict-induced displacement in the country, especially in Mindanao,” Sen. Estrada states in the bill’s explanatory note.
The proposed measure is also to formulate a local mechanism to prevent the occurrence of and avoid conditions leading to internal displacement, in consonance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Senate Bill 530 contains terms on prohibition against internal displacement; protection against crime, discriminatory practices and curtailment of human freedoms during the period of displacement; extension of humanitarian assistance to IDPs; and provision of support during the return, resettlement or local integration of the IDPs.

Legarda Calls for Heightened Action as Phl Ranked 4th among Countries Affected by Climate Change

MANILA, December 1, 2012-In light of the results of the 2013 Global Climate Risk Index, which ranked the Philippines fourth among more than 190 countries greatly affected by climate change in the past 20 years, Senator Loren Legarda today called for heightened action from all communities across the Philippines.

“Despite increasing awareness about climate change over the past few years, the damage of irresponsible development models and large-scale environmental destruction has not yet been reversed. I urge all communities from all walks of life to contribute to the efforts in lessening our greenhouse gas emissions and decreasing our overall carbon footprint,” she remarked.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change and UN Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in Asia Pacific, noted that all sectors can contribute to the fight against climate change.

“Government officials, especially at the local level, can increase preparedness by implementing our laws such as the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act and the Climate Change Act, and by using the People's Survival Fund,” she said.

“Business communities should be encouraged to invest in clean new technologies, adopt energy efficiency measures and re-engineer corporate social responsibility to reflect the joint values of achieving business sustainability through building disaster-resilient local communities. Even we, in our own homes, can strive for sustainable means of living through recycling, composting, and lessening our use of non-renewable resources,” she detailed.

Legarda added that the media should underscore the message that it is time to recognize that disasters, turbocharged by a changing climate, can undo years of development gains, and that, unsound and short-sighted development practices play a significant role in worsening disaster risks.

She cited World Bank’s estimate that for every dollar invested in disaster reduction measures saves seven to ten dollars in losses from natural hazards.

“We will never tire of reiterating our call for heightened action on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation because we have to free ourselves from the exhausting and costly cycle of rebuilding our communities every single time a natural hazard occurs,” Legarda concluded.


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