Legarda: Filipino Communities Must Learn, Share Lessons from Yolanda

December 23, 2013

Amid the ongoing recovery efforts in areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda, Senator Loren Legarda today urged the survivors to learn from the lessons brought by the disaster and share the same to others to be able to build back better communities and ensure resilient recovery.

In her recent meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Legarda, UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, stressed that communities anticipated and prepared for Yolanda, but the strength of the typhoon and the devastation it caused showed that much more needs to be done.

“Filipinos are a resilient people. Communities, headed by the local government heads, had taken precautionary measures to avert a disaster, but Yolanda showed more of the underlying risks in our communities. Some local government units have early warning systems, but what we must ensure is that all LGUs must put in place such system,” she explained.

The Senator said that the Philippines is ahead of other countries in terms of being DRR-literate especially with the help of two landmark laws—the Philippine Climate Change Act and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act—both recognized as among the best in the world. These policies, however, still need to be fully operational.

“Some local government units are making good use of these laws. A good example is Former Mayor Al Arquillano of San Franciso, Camotes Island, a UN Sasakawa Awardee. He evacuated residents of a highly vulnerable island ahead of time before Yolanda made landfall, resulting in zero casualties. Other LGUs should be likewise proactive. We cannot achieve full resiliency with piecemeal efforts, with only few communities working towards resilience,” she pointed out.

“We are greatly thankful for the support of the international community, led by the UN. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed solidarity with the Filipino people and has called on donor nations to keep their commitment and strengthen their support to the rehabilitation efforts in the affected areas. As a sign of our deep gratitude, it is fitting and is to our best interest that we work hard towards preventing disasters and strengthening resilience,” said Legarda.

“Let us make good use of the lessons we have learned from Yolanda and share this experience with other nations as we hope for a fruitful outcome of two important global events–the UN Climate Summit in 2014 and the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015,” she concluded.