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Legarda stressed need for stronger flood mitigation measures

February 22, 2021

Former three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker, Loren Legarda called for the improvement of flood mitigation measures to lessen, if not prevent altogether, damages and casualties from floods and landslides.

Although the tropical cyclone has weakened since it entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), various areas in the country especially parts of Visayas and Mindanao were submerged in floodwater brought by heavy rains.

“The country urgently needs effective and enduring flood mitigation measures to address its flood problem. The incessant heavy rains and the resulting floods not only affect the marginalized and vulnerable communities, but also businesses, government operations, trade and industry, the agriculture sector, and fisherfolk who would not be able to scour the seas for a bountiful catch due to the bad weather,” Legarda said.

Legarda urged the national government and the local government units (LGUs) to invest in strengthening the resilience of infrastructure from disasters and ensure stronger implementation of environmental laws.

“Let us address the vulnerabilities of our communities by building long-term and effective programs. We have to invest in building more resilient communities and infrastructure. Our mindset should not only focus in relief, recovery and rehabilitation but, most importantly, we have to give equally stronger effort on disaster prevention and mitigation as we do not know when a natural hazard will strike again,”Legarda added.

“Rebuilding the same infrastructure that have been devastated by natural disasters will entail more expenses than investing in a more resilient infrastructure. Instead, we should impose higher standards for flood control projects and drainage system; implement the installation of rainwater catchment facilities; institute flood monitoring and early warning systems. Environment protection efforts should also be pushed, such as conducting massive cleanup of esteros and canals; strengthening the prohibition against illegal logging, conducting periodic assessment of the structural integrity of all dams in the country, restoring wetlands for water storage and soil moisture; reconnecting rivers to floodplains; planting mangroves to protect from coastal flooding; increasing green urban spaces, and, most importantly, ensuring that environmental laws, such as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003), are being strictly enforced from the national level down to the barangays because after all, no amount of infrastructure will be able to address our flood problems if we do not comply with our environmental laws,” Legarda concluded.

The tropical cyclone Auring, which now has weakened into a low pressure as it moves towards the eastern coast of Albay has brought massive floods in the Visayas and Mindanao over the weekend, particularly in Surigao del Sur. According to the latest situational report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), a total of 13,816 families in 216 barangays in Regions X, XI and CARAGA were affected of which, 12,825 families are currently in evacuation centers.***