Legarda emphasizes disaster preparedness amidst El Niño scare

July 13, 2023

In observance of National Disaster Resilience Month this July, Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda underscored support for programs dedicated to attaining disaster resilience.

Legarda, a United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Global Champion for Resilience, said there must be proactive ways to help the country withstand the effects of calamities battering the country annually.

“The Philippines is constantly hit by endless natural disasters every year, so we must be able to face any possible danger head-on,” she said.

“Since we have identified most of the causes of damage to property and lives, the state and the citizens must work together to mitigate them by preparing ourselves, starting with simple things such as waste segregation and heeding disaster warnings,” she added.

The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone nations on earth, where various natural calamities such as typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic activities affect millions yearly.

Situated along the Pacific Ring of Fire, seismic and volcanic activity occurs more often than the rest of the world, usually to a more dangerous degree, putting millions of lives at risk.

Filipinos, used to about 20 typhoons yearly, may experience differently this time as the opposite El Niño phenomenon is projected to hit the country later this year.

“I call on local government units to seriously consider ways to conserve the water supply — we cannot expose ourselves to the risk of seeing it dry up completely — it will be catastrophic,” warned Legarda, who also welcomed the administration’s move to release an El Niño mitigation plan to help the country brace for its adverse effects.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. announced Monday that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) have joined forces to boost mitigation efforts for El Niño.

“Let us also look at building standards and determine if structures can withstand tremors and various waterways to see if they are clear from debris that might cause overflow and flooding in low-lying areas,” Legarda remarked.

“Lastly, we must be able to ensure that our people are capable enough in fending off disaster themselves by empowering them and be able to live comfortably without the danger of their surroundings,” she furthered.

Legarda has long been regarded as the country’s foremost disaster resilience and environmental protection lawmaker.

The four-term senator has championed groundbreaking laws, such as the Climate Change Act as principal author and sponsor.

She was also a significant contributor to the passage of other laws. Among them include the Clean Air Act, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, Renewable Energy Act, Environmental Awareness and Education Act, the People’s Survival Fund Law, and the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act.

The National Disaster Consciousness Month was renamed to National Disaster Resilience Month in 2017 to reflect the shift in its focus to achieve a safer, adaptive, and resilient Filipino populace. (end)