Legarda: Place climate adaptation, disaster preparedness at the core of governance and development

March 7, 2023

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda today urged national and local leaders to prioritize climate action and disaster risk management to safeguard Filipinos and avert further losses and damages from disasters and calamities.

Legarda made the statement following a report by the International Science Council, which revealed that countries are inadequately prepared to face increasing disasters, including floods and storms, setting back hard-won development gains in many parts of the world.

She also mentioned last month’s devastating earthquake in Turkey, which claimed over 50,000 lives and displaced millions to seek shelter elsewhere.

“It’s painfully clear that extreme weather events and disasters are becoming more deadly and destructive. The pandemic taught us that preparation is key to averting crises and saving lives. I stress the urgent need once again for our national and local leaders to adequately prepare for and manage these risks, and more importantly, to invest time and resources on resilience-building policies and measures,” said Legarda who is cited by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) as Global Champion for Resilience and by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as National Adaptation Plan Champion.

Legarda also noted that the Philippines has consistently ranked high among countries that are most at risk from disasters and climate impacts. In the 2022 World Risk Report, which calculated the disaster risk for 193 countries, the Philippines is the most disaster-prone country in the world due to its high risk, exposure, and vulnerability to disasters and calamities.

She also lamented the country’s ranking in the 2021 Global Climate Risk Index, as the fourth most affected country by weather-related disasters like storms, floods, and heatwaves from 2000-2019. The index earlier noted the Philippines’ particular vulnerability of “being recurrently affected by catastrophes,” which made response and recovery more challenging for our country.

“We need systemic changes to our thinking and doing, especially when it comes to the growing threats and challenges from disasters and calamities. Climate adaptation and disaster preparedness and management must be adopted in all governance and development processes and be embraced by all citizens as a way of life,” Legarda said. (end)