Legarda Renews Call to Strengthen Disaster Resilience on 5th Yolanda Anniversary

November 8, 2018

Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call for communities to heighten resilience to disasters as the nation commemorates today, November 8, the fifth anniversary of Supertyphoon Yolanda.

“Long before Yolanda and more so after, I have knocked on the doors of local government units (LGUs) urging them to implement our environmental laws to build resilience and reduce disaster risks. Disaster preparedness is one of the seven core areas of governance in building sustainably progressive and inclusive communities,” said Legarda, UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience.

The Senator said that there have been improvements through the years, particularly in the issuance of weather advisories and early warnings and enforcement of early evacuation, but more needs to be done.

“We need to continuously conduct massive education and information campaign on disaster preparedness so that communities do not remain complacent,” Legarda said.

“We need to ensure that in rebuilding communities, we are not rebuilding the risks again. We must reduce the risks and not create new risks. If a community is prone to landslides, consult the geohazard map to see where relocation is possible; otherwise, we will continue to incur damages and rebuild again when natural hazards occur. That is certainly not a mark of resilience. In coastal communities, there should be mangrove reforestation because mangroves sequester carbon and are good buffers for storm surge and tsunami,” she added.

As part of the commemoration of Yolanda, Legarda organized film showing of Taklub in various schools—including the Pis-anan National High School, Sibalom National High School, and Antique National High School—in her home province of Antique. The province is composed of 18 municipalities, 15 of which are coastal, thus, vulnerable to tsunami and storm surge.

Taklub, a 2015 Yolanda-inspired advocacy film that Legarda envisioned, was produced by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and directed by internationally acclaimed Filipino director Brillante Ma. Mendoza.  It premiered at the 68th Cannes International Film Festival Un Certain Regardcategory and earned a special commendation from the Festival’s Ecumenical Jury.

“Yolanda was a tragic example of stronger natural hazards caused by climate change. We should expect more of it, but more important is to be prepared for these extreme weather events. We will only be resilient if we learn the lessons of past disasters and translate these lessons into action,” Legarda concluded.