Press Release
February 20, 2006


Senator Manny Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, says that given the series of natural calamities and disasters that have rocked the Philippines over the years, especially recently, environment protection and disaster preparedness should be highly prioritizes particularly in terms of budget allocation.

"Over the years, it's only when calamities that concerned authorities buckle up to work. We should be proactive not reactive. Environmentalists have been warning us about the dire consequences of neglecting our natural resources. Geologists are again calling our attention about landslide-prone areas. We should take their precautions seriously," says Villar, President of the Nacionalista Party.

According to Villar, the initiatives recommended and implemented in the light of the killer tsunamis that wreaked havoc in Thailand, Indonesia, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka over a year ago should be considered anew.

"The Philippines being archipelagic, we must always be prepared for the onslaught of natural disasters. When the killer tsunamis strike Asia, the national government has acknowledged the need to modernize our forecasting system. We should review our disaster preparedness programs and resources as well," says Villar.

Villar adds, "It's true that when the wrath of nature strikes, we cannot do anything to stop it. But I believe that preparedness and prevention can lessen or weaken the impact of such calamities and disasters."

According to Villar, the massive loss of lives and properties in the series of four typhoons and landslides that hit Aurora, Quezon, Nueva Ecija, Mindoro and Leyte last year and the mudslide in Southern Leyte plus other provinces last week should prompt the government into quick action to put in place preventive measures and preparedness mechanisms.

Villar is among the lawmakers who support the implementation of a total logging ban. He is also urging the country to embark in a massive 'green revolution' (Senate Bill 721), reforestation program and rehabilitation of forestlands (Senate Bill 728 & 729) to counter the ill effects of illegal logging. Under Senate Bill 738, Villar proposes for the creation of the Office of Environmental Education within the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to educate the public about the environment, especially the protection of which.

"The alarming rate of environmental degradation today underscores the need to preserve and protect our ecological resources. We don't want to invite the wrath of nature by being unmindful or neglectful. We should also educate our people, especially the youth, about environmental issues and concerns," cites Villar. 

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