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“Let’s Build Green Schools!” Legarda Pushes For Disaster-Resilient Schools, More Budget For Disaster Risk Reduction

November 26, 2010

FOLLOWING HER PROPOSAL TO ALLOCATE AT LEAST ONE PERCENT OF THE NATIONAL BUDGET FOR DISASTER RISK REDUCTION, SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA ANNOUNCED THAT SHE WOULD COMMIT A SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF HER 2011 PRIORITY DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE FUND (PDAF) FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF “GREEN SCHOOLS”.
Legarda, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said she wants to give priority to addressing the long-standing problem of lack of classrooms and school buildings and to ensure that these infrastructures are safe and disaster-resilient.
“We want to build not just school buildings, but green schools that are disaster-resilient. Aside from being structurally safe and organizationally prepared for disasters, we want these schools to be innovative and environment-friendly by putting up rainwater catchment systems, growing vegetable gardens, using renewable energy and setting up a recycling program, among others,” she said.
Legarda said instituting disaster resilience programs should be a main concern of the government, especially now that the focus should be more on disaster prevention and mitigation than on relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.
The Senator also proposed that at least one percent of the national budget for 2011 be earmarked for disaster risk reduction, noting a World Bank study which showed that for every dollar invested in disaster reduction measures saves seven to ten dollars in losses from natural disasters.
“All development efforts funded by our national budget must withstand the impacts of disasters. This is a common sense, “no-regrets” policy. We have to put in mind that this is in fact an investment and not an expenditure, because if we can prevent hazards from devastating our resources, in the end we could save millions or even billions of pesos and prevent the loss of many lives that we cannot put a price on,” Legarda said.
“I really hope to see this allocation in the 2011 national budget especially that this proposition is also being adopted and pushed by other nations in their respective countries. We must to do this if we really want to have a truly reformed, genuinely pro-poor budget. After all, when disasters strike, it is our indigent citizens who bear most of the brunt,” she concluded.