Legarda: We Must Develop a Culture of Safety and Preparedness

July 31, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda today said that the nation should develop a culture of safety and preparedness to help prevent natural hazards from turning into disasters.


Legarda made the statement as she commended the efforts of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the local government units (LGUs), and all the organizations, institutions, businesses, and individuals that joined the metro-wide earthquake drill yesterday (July 30). The drill was a simulation of conditions that can occur if a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hits Metro Manila.


“Congratulations to everyone involved for taking a step forward in cultivating a culture of preparedness. I hope this is just the beginning of many drills–whether it is to prepare for earthquakes, typhoons, storm surges, flooding or even drought,” Legarda stated.


The Senator, a United Nations Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, said that the Philippines is a vulnerable nation and cited the 5th Annual Natural Hazards Risk Atlas (NHRA).


The report assessed the natural hazard exposure of over 1,300 cities around the world and found that of the 100 cities with the greatest exposure to natural hazards, 21 are located in the Philippines; and of the top 10, eight are Philippine cities, including Tuguegarao, Cagayan Valley (2nd), Lucena, Quezon (3rd), Manila (4th), San Fernando, Pampanga (5th) and Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija (6th).


“Many studies have already cited the Philippines as among the most vulnerable to natural hazards. The country’s geographical location makes it prone to natural hazards, which can be addressed by building resilience. But the unfortunate truth is that aside from the country’s physical attributes, other factors such as poor urban governance, vulnerable rural livelihoods, and continuing ecosystems decline have made disaster risks more prevalent in our communities,” said Legarda.


“Disasters as an enemy are becoming more enigmatic and formidable. It is no longer business as usual. The situation calls for a multi-hazard approach for early warning system anchored on close coordination among hazard warning agencies,” she added.


“Our LGUs must step up as well. They should plan well and invest public resources wisely with reducing disaster risk as a goal; promote a culture of safety and resilience engaging all stakeholders and sectors; raise awareness of disaster and climate risk at community and family level; and improve local early warning and community preparedness systems. Disaster risk reduction and preparedness should be a way of life,” Legarda concluded.