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Legarda to Gov’t: Scale Up Social Protection to Improve Disaster Resilience

August 19, 2013

As incessant rains caused by Typhoon Maring and the southwest monsoon affect Metro Manila and several provinces in nearby regions, Senator Loren Legarda today called for a deeper study on how the government’s social protection program can be improved to help build disaster resilience of families and communities.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said that the government should promote the scaling up of existing national programs to rectify the social and economic structures that breed disaster risk and trap the poor in the vicious cycle of risk and poverty.

“I propose that we examine how the government’s social protection programs, in particular the Conditional Cash Transfer and other poverty reduction-related initiatives, can be scaled up to not only address the structural poverty, but also build resilience against the recurring impact of natural hazards, which may well be holding them to the very poverty we are trying to address in the first place,” she explained.

“Scaling up our social protection program, with more innovative means to build the resilience of poor families, would help deliver the genuine reduction in poverty that the Aquino Administration longs for,” she added.

The Senator explained that economic losses in disasters are greatly felt by the poor because the effects are magnified in their life. For many Filipinos, every single day of work is synonymous to survival. When impassable roads due to heavy downpour prevent a daily wage earner from going to work, it would mean no earnings for the day, no food on the table.

Legarda said that the government should grow the economy but also develop resilience through social protection.

“Efforts of the government to improve the quality of life for the majority of Filipinos are not felt as disasters continually bring us down. We cannot let disasters keep the poor forever poor. We cannot let recurrent disasters take away from our people their lives and the little that they have in life. If we wish the poor to enjoy their rightful share of the fruits of development, then building resilience must be at the heart of the country’s social protection program,” Legarda concluded.