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Legarda lauds Camotes Is. mayors’ proactive stance on climate change, urges other LGUs to do the same

December 11, 2010

AS CLIMATE TALKS IN CANCUN, MEXICO CLOSE, SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA TODAY COMMENDED THE MAYORS OF CAMOTES ISLANDS IN CEBU PROVINCE FOR TAKING CONCRETE STEPS TO MITIGATE THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE.
“I am glad that more people are now conscious about climate change. More local government units (LGUs) are seeing the importance of disaster preparedness and are joining the UN’s campaign on disaster resilience. I laud the mayors of the municipalities of San Francisco, Poro, Tudela, and Pilar of Camotes Islands for taking action by joining this movement,” Legarda said.
Aware of the increasing threats to its coastal mangrove forests, seagrass and corals, the mayors of the four municipalities have signed up to the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction’s (UNISDR) Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready campaign.
According to the UNISDR, joining the campaign means that the mayors have committed to several disaster risk reduction (DRR) measures such as relocating communities and key infrastructure that are prone to storm surges, regular clean-up drives along coastal areas, tree planting, establishment of early warning systems, strengthening the Camotes Islands emergency response teams, developing community-based ecotourism and livelihood initiatives, and training teachers and youth organizations on climate change.
Legarda, the UNISDR’s Asia-Pacific Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA), said she hopes that more LGUs would follow the examples of these leaders and of other local chief executives who have already joined the movement. She stressed that DRR efforts must be established and doubled to lessen the impact of disasters.
The Senator also reiterated her call for the efficient and effective implementation of CCA and DRR programs of the national government, noting that the funds for such programs are already included in the 2011 national budget.
Under the 2011 General Appropriations Bill, roughly P44.8-billion is allotted for CCA and DRR measures. This translates to 2.72% of the total national budget, surpassing the one percent minimum requirement put forth in the 2010 Manila Call for Action, which was forged by Asian Parliamentarians at the recent UNISDR consultative meeting on DRR.
“I urge the National Economic Development Authority to develop a mechanism that will track funds that are allocated for disaster prevention to be able to know if the one-percent benchmark is fulfilled.”
“The proper mindset now is to be proactive, rather than reactive; the appropriate policy would be to focus on disaster prevention measures, rather than on post-disaster efforts. By doing so, calamity funds need not be increased and the government can save more on relief and rehabilitation funds, which can be spent instead for vital social services,” Legarda concluded.