Phl effective prevention of natural hazard and unnatural hazard is needed

By Jason de Asis

SENATE OFFICE Manila, February 11, 2011-In a recent report on the economics of disaster prevention jointly produced by the World Bank (WB) and the United Nations (UN) publication entitled: “Natural Hazard, Unnatural Disasters: The Economics of Prevention”, Senator Loren Legarda said that the country should have an effective disaster preparedness to pursue sustainable development for our economy.


Legarda cited the lessons of Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng which taught the citizenry in enhancing the capacities to re-build after each and every disaster, saying that for without effective disaster prevention, hundreds of lives, thousands of homes, billions worth of properties and livelihoods, even government's growth and revenue targets, can be at the mercy of a single extreme weather event.

The country has to face time and again the impacts of natural hazards which have been a major constraint and an important development issue especially the climate change hazards that can be more frequent and intense, adding that the occurrence of it must be turn to be not disasters.


Early prevention will preserve risk reduction as the key of success in fighting disasters where the Senator said that the country is second in the world to receive the recent special briefing by WB and UN.


Legarda lauded the report of Mr. Apurva Sanghi, leader of the technical working group who made the presentation, the World Bank-Philippines’ Country Director Mr. Bert Hofman, and World Bank- Sector Coordinator Ms Yan Zhang, who also shared their insights, adding that the event was joined by the Secretary of the Department of Finance Cesar Purisima, Director-General of the National Economic Development Authority Cayetano Paderanga, Jr. and Presidential Assistant for Climate Change Elizea Gozun and other legislators, who are chairpersons of major committees in Congress, key government officials, members of international organizations and the diplomatic corps, heads of non-government organizations and various institutions and members of the academe.


“Disasters maim and kill. They devastate the environment and set back economic development,” Legarda said, stressing that reducing disaster risk is a critical development issue that affects everybody and concerns every sector of the society.


Legarda urged the political leaders of the country to realize that reducing disaster risk is a moral responsibility to the people and a commitment to good governance that transcends political boundaries.


She calls to PNoy that now is the time to make a difference and must act now, pointing out that leaders of the country should not allow another Ondoy and Pepeng to happen again in Metro Manila.


The Senator recommended that there is a need to improve the country’s early warning system and strengthen Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAG-ASA) as deemed the most cost effective in reducing the impacts of disasters, adding that there is a need to invest in flood protection and earthquake mitigation in Metro Manila and other low land areas heeding the lessons of Ondoy and Pepeng.


There is a need to convene the Climate Change Commission and make disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation high in the development agenda, saying that there is a need to engage local government leaders in the fight against disaster and climate risks.  They are in the frontline and most in need of capability building, act decisively and secures the children’s future to make economic good sense. (Jason de Asis)


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