Legarda: Learn from Past Disasters to Build a Resilient Future

January 25, 2014

Senator Loren Legarda today stressed on the need to lessen the necessity for disaster relief by making good use of lessons learned from past disasters to build a resilient future for Filipinos.

Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said that as a country exposed to storms, the Philippines should now be typhoon-resilient at the very least.

“We should now be experts in preparing for typhoons. After all, we have already experienced Ondoy, Pepeng, Pablo and Sendong. Unfortunately, Yolanda happened and we only realize that we have yet to do what we ought to do,” she said.

The Senator pointed out that when disaster strikes a part of the nation, it does not only affect that particular area, it also impacts the economy, which in turn affects everyone in the country.

She noted that losses due to Yolanda are estimated at Php571 billion, which represents close to five percent of the Philippines annual GDP. Meanwhile, for this century, global losses from disasters are in the range of $2.5 trillion.

Legarda cited five major factors that contribute to the country’s vulnerability to natural hazards. These are: ecosystems decline, exposure of economic assets, poverty, rapid growth of cities, and climate change.

She also shared five points to overcome these vulnerabilities through an environmental program audit, risk-sensitive planning and investment, strengthening social protection, advancing economic and business resilience, and promoting community resilience.

“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 sustainable development goals,” said Legarda.

“Tragedies such as Ondoy, Sendong and Yolanda create the context for learning and growing. It is these disasters that make us resilient. It is our shared memory of death, loss and survival that should drive us to build a resilient future,” she concluded.