Manifestation on the Budget Allocation for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Measures delivered by Senator Loren Legarda

December 1, 2010

Mr. President, about a week ago, parliamentarians from ten Asian countries, including the Philippines, met here in Manila for a three-day Consultative Meeting on “Disaster Risk Reduction: An Instrument for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals”.
After our exchange of views and experiences on the various effects of disasters and the impact of climate change in our respective countries, this representation, along with legislators from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan and Thailand, forged “The Manila Call for Action of Parliamentarians on Applying Disaster Risk Reduction as an Instrument for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals”.
This document contains our challenges to ourselves, to other parliamentarians, to national governments, to regional associations, and international organizations to make Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction a priority, because our focus now must be on disaster prevention and mitigation rather than on relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.
The World Bank estimates that for every dollar invested in disaster reduction measures saves seven to ten dollars in losses from natural disasters. With this in mind, Asian parliamentarians, through the Manila Call for Action, called on national governments “to allocate at least one percent of the national budget and development funding at the national and local levels for reducing disaster risks.”
Mr. President, since last week we have been discussing and deliberating the budgets of the various agencies of government. This representation, if you had noticed, had been asking these departments to include in their programs measures on disaster risk reduction because we want to ensure that all the efforts of the government on the development and progress of our nation and our people would not go to waste because we have not made them disaster-resilient.
Sustainable socio-economic development through disaster risk reduction is our advocacy.
I stand here today, Mr. President, to congratulate my colleagues in this august chamber, and our fellow legislators in the House of Representatives, for adopting this advocacy in the 2011 General Appropriations Bill.
I am pleased to announce that of the P1.645 Trillion proposed budget for 2011, we have allocated P44,874,223,000 for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction measures. This translates to 2.72% of our total national budget, surpassing the one percent minimum requirement we have put forth in the Manila Call for Action.
This is a significant achievement for our nation. We now realize that we can no longer be apathetic and complacent on the environmental issues and disaster concerns of our country. We are gradually becoming aware of the necessity of putting in place disaster resiliency measures in every part of our society and in every aspect of our life.
However, this is just the start. We still have a long way to go in terms of the actual implementation, and if necessary, the improvement, of current programs on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
I call on the Executive Department to ensure that all these disaster resiliency measures are institutionalized in the respective agencies of government and to guarantee the efficient and effective implementation of such programs.
We can never tolerate mediocrity and ignorance in the planning and execution of these programs; nor can we forgive the greed of those who only seek for personal glory; because a single mistake that we make here can cause hundreds of deaths and can destroy thousands of lives.
I also urge my fellow legislators to always be on guard to ensure that there is no systems loss and that not a single cent would be lost to corruption. We have to actively use our oversight functions to ensure that this budget we have studied for endless nights and deliberated for long hours will not just go to its intended programs and beneficiaries, but will also be used wisely and proficiently.
Thank you, Mr. President.