Legarda: DRR Not a Seasonal Issue, It’s Always Timely and Relevant

December 9, 2014

Senator Loren Legarda today said that disaster risk reduction is not a seasonal issue that the media can only report about when there is an expected typhoon or other natural hazard.


In her keynote speech at the Workshop on “Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction Reporting in Journalism Education Curriculum in ASEAN Countries” held at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Legarda, UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, said that the media is a powerful force that can promote a change in mindset from one that is reactive to one that is proactive.


“The responsibility of a journalist to deliver timely and relevant information to the public does not happen only when there is an incoming typhoon, storm surge, flood or volcanic eruption. For instance, how do we prepare for an earthquake? We cannot predict when a quake will happen. We can only prepare for it in order to achieve zero casualty and damage,” she explained.


Legarda, a former broadcast journalist, said that the media has the duty to create awareness and disseminate information about natural hazards and how communities can prepare and reduce the risks.


“As a channel of information, the media has the responsibility to constantly remind so that preparedness and resilience become a way of life. DRR is not a seasonal issue. It is always timely and relevant,” she said.


Legarda also emphasized the need to integrate DRR reporting in Journalism education curriculum.


She explained that media is a strong platform that can encourage action. But to be able to effect positive action, a journalist must create awareness by understanding the issue.


“To be an effective communicator, the journalist must have a full grasp of a phenomenon’s cause and effect. Even more so for the phenomenon of climate change, which is so complex and overreaching in its impacts that we should now begin calling it the ‘climate crisis’,” she stressed.


Legarda added that the media has the responsibility to engage the public to effect positive action to mitigate the climate crisis through a change in lifestyle and strengthened environmental conservation efforts.


“Humanity must adapt to a fast changing environment and adopt a risk-informed lifestyle. We must now live life on the planet mindful of the need to reducing risk to life, livelihood and property. Not only do we need our journalists to understand but we also need our journalists to encourage people to be part of this cultural transformation for a safer world.”

“We need the heightened engagement of media in DRR and in reporting DRR to encourage a new way of thinking and doing our everyday business that prevents socio-economic losses, ensures genuine human development and creates sustainable and resilient communities,” Legarda concluded.