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Legarda Hopes for a Better, More Resilient Year Ahead

December 30, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda today said she looks forward to a better year ahead for the country, particularly in terms of pursuing sustainable, inclusive and resilient development.

Legarda, who chairs the Senate committees on finance, climate change, and cultural communities, said she is hopeful that government programs for 2016 will not only provide for the basic needs of citizens but also proactively address the risks that threaten meaningful progress.

“I am optimistic it will be a different year because we have introduced important provisions in the 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA) that would align government programs with the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and our Intended Nationally-Determined Contribution (INDC) for climate change mitigation and adaptation,” she said.

“We have also provided very specific line items that are responsive to the needs of fisherfolks and coastal communities, farmers, rural folks, indigenous communities. We introduced amendments that will support 4th, 5th and 6th class municipalities and barangays in the country,” she added.

Legarda has introduced general and special provisions mostly in the areas of environmental protection, community resilience and heritage preservation, which she said are often neglected but are very much valuable to the development of the nation.

In relation to climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR):

(1) Dam operators must ensure that dams are properly maintained, managed and operated with updated and promulgated protocols that take into account climate change and extreme weather events and ensure coordination with the PAGASA on precipitation forecast;

(2) In retrofitting bridges and other public infrastructure, the government must give priority to areas considered to be highly vulnerable to seismic activity;

(3) The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) must provide support to all agrarian reform communities (ARCs) for them to be attuned to CCA and DRR;

(4) The Department of Agriculture (DA) should increase the resilience of agricultural communities and conduct seminars and trainings for local government units (LGUs);

(5) The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) must build at least four permanent evacuation centers in every region and ensure that evacuation centers are built on safe sites and designed to withstand wind speed of three hundred (300) kilometers per hour and moderate seismic activity of at least 8.0 magnitude on the Richter scale; utilize green design and include a rainwater catchment system, facilities for the special needs of women, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities (PWDs) and such other physical provisions guaranteeing a humane condition for evacuees;

(6) The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) must give priority to research on DRR and CCA to ensure that policy development and planning at all levels are based on science and contributing to building resilience;

(7) The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) shall encourage farmers to plant coconut palms to act as natural wind breakers along coastal areas;

(8) The DILG shall ensure the creation of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (LDRRMO) in all LGUs pursuant to the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010; and,

(9) LGUs with the assistance of the DILG, shall take into consideration the vulnerability and risk assessment of the DENR in the development of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan in enacting the appropriate zoning ordinances.

(10) LGUs, in coordination with the National Housing Authority (NHA), shall implement the relocation and resettlement of persons living in danger areas. Resettlement sites must have basic services and facilities and access to employment and livelihood opportunities sufficient to meet the basic needs of the affected families. The barangay, municipal or city government units shall prevent the construction of any kind of illegal dwelling unit or structures within their respective localities.

For environment protection and biodiversity conservation:

(11) The DPWH, in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), shall determine the specifications of all infrastructure projects to be implemented within the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) and conservation areas to guarantee its protection;

(12) All government agencies and offices and LGUs shall ensure that protection of biological diversity is integrated and mainstreamed into their development projects and programs;

(13) All national government agencies, LGUs and government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) shall embark on energy efficiency measures and adopt the use of energy efficient lighting.

(14) The Department of Education (DepEd) shall require public schools to establish rainwater collection systems (RWCS) that conform to the prototypes prescribed by the DPWH, vegetable gardens, and materials recovery facilities (MRF);

(15) State universities and colleges (SUCs), in coordination with the LGUs, shall include in their research program the mapping and inventory of the biodiversity of the province where the main campus of the SUC is located. SUCs must also coordinate with the DENR for the establishment of nurseries including the clonal nurseries, the conduct of forest research, and mangrove reforestation activities, and other similar activities within the scope of the National Greening Program (NGP);

(16) The DepEd and SUCs must integrate the following in their respective curricula: environmental protection and awareness, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and mitigation, indigenous knowledge systems pertaining to agriculture, environment and cultural heritage;

(17) The DENR shall establish an arboretum of native endemic and indigenous tree and plants species at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center, the only remaining protected area in Metro Manila;

(18) The DPWH, in controlling soil erosion and slope stabilization in the construction of roads, shall give priority to the use of coconet bio-engineering solution in areas where there is available supply and the cost of coconet bio-engineering solution is equal to or cheaper than the conventional slope protection materials.

(19) The DPWH shall include in the design and program cost of road construction projects the planting of trees on both sides of the roads. It shall also prescribe the design of rainwater catchment systems to be installed in public areas; and,

(20) The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) must promote road sharing activities such as the use of non-motorized transport, construction of pedestrian-friendly facilities and conduct of programs and projects that are geared towards improving people mobility.

For culture and heritage preservation:

(21) No alteration, renovation or demolition of heritage buildings and open spaces declared by government or presumed to be important cultural properties shall be done without approval of cultural agencies and consultation with stakeholders. This includes the protection of the sight line with regard to built heritage, cultural properties and cultural landscapes;

(22) In undertaking major infrastructure projects, the concerned department or agency shall be responsible specifically in the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of national roads and bridges as they impact on heritage structures or aspects of heritage conservation pursuant to RA 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009;

(23) The DepEd must endeavor to preserve and restore the existing Gabaldon school buildings and other heritage school buildings as part of the preservation of the country’s cultural heritage. No Gabaldon school building and other heritage school building shall be demolished.

(24) The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) shall include traditional skills in their non-formal technical vocational education and training. Thee TESDA shall coordinate with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) and the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) for the implementation of this provision.

(25) The DILG shall ensure the establishment of a council whose purpose is the promotion of culture and the arts in all provinces, cities and municipalities; and,

(26) LGUs, in coordination with the NCCA, shall undertake cultural mapping of their tangible heritage. This shall form part of the National Registry.