Legarda Renews Call for Use of Geohazard Maps for DRR

July 8, 2014

In line with the observance of the National Disaster Consciousness Month, Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call to local government units (LGUs) on the use of geohazard maps to reduce disaster risks and to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to ensure that local officials understand the details on these maps.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, said that the DENR should not only distribute the geohazard maps, but also, and more importantly, educate LGUs on how to read the map and how it will help them in their disaster risk reduction and management efforts.

“The DENR, particularly its Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), should make sure that geohazard maps have been distributed to all LGUs and they also have to verify if the LGUs understand these maps,” she said.

“In many instances in the past, natural hazards turned into major disasters because of the lack of understanding of the geohazard maps. Communities were built on landslide prone areas and other danger zones because they were not aware of the risks,” Legarda lamented.

The Senator said that the MGB must explain to every mayor, city or municipal administrator the details and significance of the maps.

In her recent visit to Davao Oriental, local DENR officials told Legarda that geohazard maps have been made available to all 49 LGUs in Region XI, but they have yet to be explained.

“We have to use science to save lives and livelihood. We need to translate science to practice and one way to effectively do that is to make sure that geohazard maps are understood by all, especially by local chief executives and DRR officers,” she said.

She stressed that there should be information and education campaign on the importance of the use of geohazard maps and suggested that this could be done in every school and LGU through a multi-sectoral workshop.

“Our local officials need to have the valuable, life-saving information regarding risks present in their communities, all of which can be found in the geohazard maps. With the knowledge of the risks present in our communities along with effective early warning systems, we should be able to radically minimize the casualties and damages when a natural hazard strikes,” Legarda concluded.