Legarda lauded all mayors of Camotes Islands in Cebu mitigating climate change
By Jason de Asis

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, December 12, 2010-Senator Loren Legarda lauded all mayors of Camote Islands particularly in the municipalities of San Francisco, Poro, Tudela and Pilar in Cebu Province for their actions to mitigate the effects of climate change; moreso, they are now aware of the increasing threats to their coastal mangrove forests, seagrass and corals.

The Senator praises the people of Camote Islands especially the local government units (LGUs) in joining the United Nations (UNs) campaign on disaster resilience and seeing the importance of disaster preparedness, adding that the mayors of the four municipalities have signed up to the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction’s (UNISDR) dubbed as “Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready campaign.”
Mayors have committed to several disaster risk reduction (DRR) measures such as relocating communities and key infrastructure that are prone to storm surges, regular clean-up drives along coastal areas, tree planting, establishment of early warning systems, strengthening the Camotes Islands emergency response teams, developing community-based ecotourism and livelihood initiatives, and training teachers and youth organizations on climate change according to the UNISDR.
Legarda stressed that DRR efforts must be established and doubled to lessen the impact of disasters and she is hoping that more LGUs would follow the steps conducted by the mayors of Camotes Islands and the other local chief executives who have already joined the movement.  
The Senator renewed her call for effective implementation of CCA and DRR programs of the national government noting that the funds for such programs are already included in the 2011 national budget.

She said that the calamity funds need not be increased and the government can save more on relief and rehabilitation funds, which can be spent instead for vital social services.
Legarda said that roughly P44.8-billion is allotted for CCA and DRR measures under the 2011 General Appropriations Bill which is equivalent to 2.72% of the total national budget, surpassing the one percent minimum requirement put forth in the 2010 Manila Call for Action, which was forged by Asian Parliamentarians at the recent UNISDR consultative meeting on DRR.
She also urged the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to develop a mechanism that will track funds that are allocated for disaster prevention to be able to know if the one-percent benchmark is fulfilled.
“To be proactive, rather than reactive are the proper mindset now,” she said, adding that the appropriate policy would be focused on disaster prevention measures, rather than on post-disaster efforts. (Jason de Asis)