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Legarda Outlines Tools for Disaster Prevention

December 21, 2011

SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA TODAY REITERATED HER CALL TO THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT TO FULLY IMPLEMENT TWO IMPORTANT LAWS – THE NATIONAL DISASTER RISK REDUCTION AND MANAGEMENT (NDRRM) ACT AND THE CLIMATE CHANGE LAW IN ORDER TO PREVENT HAZARDS FROM TURNING INTO DISASTERS.
“The NDRRMC Act defines the necessity of having disaster risk reduction plan not only in the national, but also in the local government levels.”
“We have a Climate Change Law that caused the organization of the Climate Change Commission that is duty bound to ensure the implementation of the National Climate Change Action Plan that had been signed by the President.”
The Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change cited that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources had completed a geo-hazard map which identified where it is dangerous to construct settlements and where evacuation is safe during heavy rain and earthquakes.
“Let us make use of these maps and have preemptive and forced evacuation. The DSWD should have identified temporary safe shelters with blankets, water and toilets and DOH should closely monitor the health situation in these evacuation centers” Legarda asserted.
“Sendong has caught us flat footed. Residents of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro are complaining that they were not informed through an early warning.”
“Was government ready for Sendong? Did Malacanang have a – Climate War Room – were the agencies of government ready?”
Legarda assessed, “I don’t think there was any seriousness and understanding of the gravity of Sendong. Even if there had been sufficient warning, there was no preparedness.”
Legarda reiterated her call for the strict compliance of the two laws citing, “The poor and marginalized can’t bear the brunt of the incompetence of leaders. Death and loss of property and livelihood could have been avoided if there had been preparedness.”
The United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Regional Champion for the Asia- Pacific vowed, “I will be organizing regional workshops to explain the law and put all the tools together. I will ask the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, who has been helping me, to assist in effective disaster prevention in the local level.”
Legarda concluded, “Esteros and canals have to be cleaned for the free flow of water; especially in balding mountains the cutting of trees should be immediately stopped; abate mining in vulnerable areas; remind the citizenry that our rivers are not garbage disposal bins; recycle what is recyclable; geo-hazard maps should guide as to the safe areas and evacuation must commence when there is exposure to hazards, public buildings and facilities must be inspected by the DSWD for structural integrity and a clear effective early warning and response system using red flags like in Bangladesh must be established.”