Legarda: Phl Must Brace for La Niña

May 16, 2016

Senator Loren Legarda today urged the government to brace for the La Niña phenomenon, which is expected to bring heavy rains in the succeeding months, through effective climate-resilient and disaster risk reduction (DRR) programs.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has already issued a La Niña watch after new predictions suggest further weakening of El Niño and the probable arrival of La Niña by the second half of 2016.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Climate Change and Finance, said that during La Niña, the country is expected to experience more than the normal rainfall as well as more typhoons. Hence, she reminded local government units (LGUs) to enhance community-based disaster management and early warning system in their respective localities.

“Empowered and equipped with the necessary mandate, knowledge, skills and tools, LGUs should develop their own DRR and climate change adaption (CCA) plan of action within their jurisdiction to prevent the loss of life and minimize the damage to property brought about by extreme weather conditions, such as the expected La Niña,” she said.

The Senator explained that LGUs should improve disaster risk information through risk identification or assessment, make people more responsive to government-issued disaster warnings, reduce sources of risk and exposure of vulnerable sector by providing house upgrading and relocation options for settlers located in hazardous areas, and ensure effective disaster preparedness and recovery mechanisms by encouraging active participation of the vulnerable communities.

“We have to be ready for the impacts of La Niña even as we continue to help drought-affected communities recover from the effects of El Niño. Agencies of government, both national and local levels, must work together to help communities projected to be hit by the La Niña adapt to the phenomenon. Desilting and dredging of rivers, canals and drainage systems should already be underway to reduce or prevent flooding. Meanwhile, communities in landslide prone areas should already have been relocated not only due to the impending La Niña, but also because such areas should not be inhabited in the first place,” said Legarda.

“I urge the government to utilize funds now for disaster preparedness and climate adaptation to immediately and effectively prepare for La Niña,” Legarda concluded.