Release and Safeguard Disaster Prevention Funds – Loren

July 27, 2010

The Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Climate Change is hopeful that the new administration’s promise of good governance and prudent use of public funds will translate into a nation better prepared to face extreme weather events.
“The water crisis, worsening just a few weeks before the SONA, is a strong reminder on how vulnerable the country is to the savagery of extreme weather conditions.”
“We can avert such unnecessary loss of lives and livelihoods if we will dedicate budget lines and earmark appropriate resources to ensure the safe condition of infrastructures, implementation of waste disposal and cleaning of rivers, among other measures.”
Legarda emphasized the need to safeguard the funds from corruption and personal political agenda.
“The misallocation of funds to serve certain political interests, which depleted our P2-billion Calamity Fund, as asserted in yesterday’s SONA, is unacceptable for poor Filipinos who languish in evacuation camps after every disaster,” Legarda lamented.
“Last year, the death toll due to Ondoy and Pepeng reached 956 while damages amounted to P38 billion,” Loren recalls.
“We don’t want this to happen again.”
To emphasize the cost-effectiveness of investing in disaster risk reduction measures, Legarda enumerated best practices in other Asian countries.
“China spent US$3.15 billion on flood control between 1960 and 2000, which is estimated to have averted losses of about US$12 billion.”
“A mangrove-planting project in Vietnam aimed at protecting coastal populations from typhoons and storms yielded an estimated benefit/cost ratio of 52 over the period 1994 to 2001.”
“In 2007 in Bangladesh Cyclone Sidr killed 3,400, in 1991 a similar cyclone killed 138,000 people, and in 1970 a similar cyclone killed 300,000 people. Analysis shows that this result is in most part due to 42,000 volunteers (called megaphones on bicycles) who helped evacuate millions of residents before Cyclones struck land in 1991 and 2007.”
“Let us be better prepared to fight the disasters of tomorrow,” Legarda concluded.