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After Pablo, Legarda Says: Much Remains to be Done

December 7, 2012

IN THE WAKE OF TYPHOON PABLO, SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA SAID THAT MUCH REMAINS TO BE DONE IN ORDER TO REDUCE DISASTER RISKS IN THE COUNTRY AND ACHIEVE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.
“Typhoon Pablo unveils the vulnerability of affected communities to natural hazards and extreme weather events. This vulnerability is brought about mostly by poverty and environmental degradation, among other drivers of risk,” she explained.
The latest typhoon to hit the country entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) Sunday night, and ravaged 26 provinces, mostly in Mindanao. Typhoon Pablo resulted in the deaths of 418 people, with hundreds still missing.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change and UN Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, remarked that for the country to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth, building the resilience of Mindanao to disasters is crucial.
“We cannot afford recurring disaster losses from typhoons such as Pablo and Sendong in Mindanao. In December 2011, heavy rains brought by Typhoon Sendong caused the overflow of the Cagayan de Oro River. Whole villages were swept away, and left more than a thousand dead. The proper dissemination of geo-hazard maps to our LGUs, as well as the proper implementation of these, should be done,” she said.
“While today our work will be on rebuilding the communities affected by Pablo, we must ensure that we are not rebuilding the risks. Furthermore, communities that were not hit by the typhoon should now be scaling-up their disaster preparedness mechanisms to ensure that in the event a natural hazard occurs, they are ready. In building back better, we need to invest in making communities more disaster-resilient,” Legarda stressed.
The Senator outlined tools for disaster prevention, which include: cleaning of esteros, canals, and other waterways for the free flow of water; preventing the cutting of trees especially in balding mountains and protected areas; abating mining in vulnerable areas; reminding the citizenry that rivers and other bodies of water are not garbage disposal bins; recycling; using geo-hazard maps as guide to determine the safe areas for residences and other infrastructure; regular inspection of public buildings and facilities for structural integrity; and establishing a clear and effective early warning and response system.