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Making Cities and Municipalities Resilient: “My City, My Town is Getting Ready!”

February 11, 2011

OPENING STATEMENT SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA

Today, we make history here in East Rembo Elementary School as Metro Manila and the Alliance of Seven join more than 150 cities and municipalities all over the world who have committed to undertake essential actions in line with UNISDR’s global campaign launched last year.

Metro Manila has been dubbed as the convenience store of disasters because based on the latest Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) risk assessment synthesis report, NCR is most at risk of flooding and earthquakes within the region.

Presented with such facts, the logical step would be to put in place proactive measures to reduce the cities’ risk to disasters. We cannot be complacent and wait for another Ondoy or Pepeng to start doing what we ought to have done many years ago. A great start would be to take part in the UNISDR’s crusade to build more sustainable and disaster-resilient towns and cities.

By signing up in this world disaster reduction campaign, towns and cities commit to the “Ten Essentials” to scale up investments in urban planning, infrastructure and building safety; protect ecosystems to mitigate floods; and install early warning systems, among other measures.

The impact of disaster risks can be more pronounced in more urbanized societies, where higher concentrations of national population and economic power are located. As elected leaders we have a moral obligation to the people, a commitment to good governance that transcends political and territorial boundaries. The tasks before national and local leaders are straightforward: We have to make our communities safer, more resilient, and ever ready to act when disaster strikes.

The magnitude of the work ahead of us seems daunting, but this gathering of leaders gives me hope and strength – that together, we can make our municipalities and cities resilient against disasters. Our people expect and have a right to nothing less than our wholehearted commitment towards this.