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Legarda Calls for DRR, Climate Mitigation Programs to Address PHL’s Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise

April 13, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda today reiterated her call for strengthened disaster resilience and climate change mitigation programs to address the Philippines’ vulnerability to sea level rise.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, made the call as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) relays that the rate of sea level rise near the Philippines is three or four times the global average.

According to the WMO, the Philippines recorded the highest average increase in sea levels in 2013 at 60 centimeters against the global average of 19 centimeters since 1901.

Moreover, a 2012 ADB study, Addressing Climate Change and Migration in Asia and the Pacific, said that the Philippines is among the most vulnerable countries to climate change and it is ranked 5th in terms of individuals affected by sea level rise.

“Several studies have already noted the high vulnerability of coastal communities in the Philippines to sea level rise. This is the challenge that we must address because this will affect millions of Filipinos living in coastal areas. The government should start relocating these communities to higher, safer places as we continue to strengthen climate change mitigation programs to help avert further rise of sea level,” Legarda said.

“With the threat of sea level rise, local government units (LGUs) must already update their respective comprehensive land use plans and they have to gradually relocate communities near the seashore land. Since we are also experiencing stronger storms, we have to build resilient infrastructure and it is important to strengthen the defense of coastal communities by building natural buffers through proper mangrove reforestation,” she added.

Legarda also said that even if the Philippines is not a major emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) which are the main cause of global warming, we must continue to pursue a low carbon lifestyle and strengthen environment conservation efforts as a way of urging other nations, especially the developed countries that are major emitters of GHG, to drastically reduce their emissions and assist countries that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

“Sea level rise is a great challenge for an archipelagic country like the Philippines and we must do everything in our capacity to prevent it from happening and to reduce its effect on our people,” Legarda concluded.