Friday, May 31, 2013
Senator Loren Legarda today underscored the improvement in the country’s disaster preparedness and risk reduction strategies but stressed that there is much more to be done in order for the Philippines to become disaster-resilient.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, noted that a recent report by the World Bank showed the Philippines among the top five countries in the Asia-Pacific in terms of advancing disaster risk reduction strategies.
The report titled “Strong, Safe and Resilient – A Strategic Policy Guide for Disaster Risk Management in the East Asia and the Pacific,” cited that through the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Law, the country has shifted from disaster response to disaster preparedness and mitigation.
The Philippines, along with China, Indonesia and Vietnam, has made “considerable steps in mainstreaming disaster risk management into development,” according to the report.
“The recent World Bank report shows that we are on the right track as far as policy shift in dealing with natural hazards is concerned. Investing in disaster prevention is definitely better and cost-efficient than focusing on post-disaster response alone,” said Legarda.
However, the Senator said that this is only the beginning of a continuing arduous task of making the country disaster-resilient.
“Every natural hazard that hits the country reveals the risks and weaknesses that we must immediately address. Even communities who already have disaster mitigation programs in place still suffer from the effects of extreme weather events. Thus, we must treat every disaster as an opportunity for us to re-evaluate our current strategies, and build on them based on recent events,” she explained.
Legarda stressed that the Philippines is still among the countries most vulnerable to disasters and that Manila, Cebu and Davao, all highly urbanized and heavily populated cities, are classified among the “top metropolises at risk in the region”.
“Climate change and extreme weather events are among the greatest humanitarian challenges of our time. These challenges we can overcome if our programs and mechanisms in place actually address the specific vulnerabilities present in each community in the country,” Legarda concluded.
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