Legarda Highlights Role of LGUs in Building Resilient Communities

November 29, 2017

Senator Loren Legarda today said that disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation should be at the core of local governments’ development agenda, stressing the need for a whole-of-society approach that would closely engage civil society and the private sector in building resilience especially among vulnerable communities.

Speaking at the Disaster Risk and Crisis Management Forum organized by the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) together with the International Movement of Development Managers (IMDM), Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Finance and Climate Change, stressed that as a fundamental development strategy, building resilience would help our government sustain the country’s socio-economic gains, make a difference in poverty reduction, and eventually ensure the achievement of the sustainable development goals.

“Disaster and climate resilience should be at the core of development. Disasters like Yolanda can undo years of economic growth. Losses due to typhoon Yolanda in 2013 are now estimated at $15 billion, which represents close to five percent of the Philippines annual GDP. Globally, losses from disasters are in the range of $2.5 trillion and will continue to escalate unless disaster risk management becomes a core part of overall development,” she noted.

To address these challenges, the Senator underscored the need to promote community resilience, saying that LGUs should prioritize resilience as part of their political and sustainable development agenda and make disaster risk reduction their legacy opportunity.

“Paying attention to protection will improve environmental, social and economic conditions, including combating the future variables of climate change. Initiatives include the establishment of multi-hazard early warning systems, rainwater harvesting, seed banks, rooftop gardens, roadside ditches and sea walls, mangrove reforestation, and the conduct of drills for preparedness. It is the responsibility of LGUs to ensure that people understand the risk present in their communities. Early and mandatory evacuation will be ineffective if the people do not understand the need for such efforts,” Legarda stressed.

“We also need to strengthen social protection and undertake risk-sensitive planning and investment. This is crucial for LGUs, which should be at the forefront of the planning, preparation and execution of resilience plans and measures,” she added.

Meanwhile, Legarda encouraged the government to invest in DRR by following our geohazard maps to determine the no-build zones and raise the standard for building structures. For instance, coastal structures, including roads and bridges, should be built and designed considering projected sea level rise due to climate change.

She also stressed the need to conduct an environmental program audit. “We have numerous laws and policies that are focused on addressing environmental and disaster resilience issues. An environmental audit covering the performance of relevant national agencies and LGUs in relation to their enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and compliance guidelines will help identify where implementation can be supported and how to remove barriers to implementation.”

“The tragedies that communities and nations face create the context for learning and growing. It is our shared memory of death, loss and survival that should drive us to build an affluent society anchored on resilience and sustainability,” Legarda concluded.