Legarda Meets Bhutanese Officials on Env’t and Cultural Preservation

June 17, 2016

Senator Loren Legarda today met with visiting officials from the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan and discussed efforts of the Philippines on environmental protection, disaster resilience, climate adaptation and cultural preservation.


Officials from Bhutan’s Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, led by Mr. Karma Kuenga Zangpo of the Department of Local Government, requested a courtesy call with Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committees on Climate Change and Cultural Communities, and the United Nations Global Champion for Resilience.


“I had a very engaging discussion with Bhutanese officials who are working from different local governments of Bhutan as project managers specifically for environment-related projects. They were interested on how we were able to mainstream disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in our development agenda, and create the People’s Survival Fund by law to support adaptation efforts of local communities,” she said.


“I encouraged the delegates to incorporate and articulate disaster risk reduction as a pillar and an integral part of their laudable development concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH),” she added.


In 2009, in her first official country mission as the Asia-Pacific Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, Legarda visited Bhutan and addressed the Bhutan National Sensitization Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction.


From then on, Legarda has been urging the Philippine government to adopt the GNH concept of Bhutan.


Bhutan’s GNH measures progress by giving equal importance to non-economic aspects of well-being. It consists of four pillars—sustainable and equitable socio-economic development, environmental conservation, promotion and preservation of cultural values, and good governance.


“The quality of life of Filipinos remains poorly understood due to the absence of measures that will reflect the happiness and well-being of the people. Our extractive and consumptive model for progress, which conveniently factors out the impact of economic activities on the natural environment and on the well-being of people, increasingly reveals our vulnerability to disasters and climate change and puts our sustainable development goals in peril,” said Legarda.


“Adopting the GNH index will help us pursue the holistic development of the country amid threats of climate change,” she added.


Legarda previously filed a Senate Resolution urging the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to develop new indicators that will reflect the happiness and well-being of Filipinos, adopting the GNH concept of the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan.