Press Release
January 29, 2010


While the world still grives over the recent Haiti tragedy, the Philippines faces another calamity threat of earthquake when eastern part of Catanduanes experienced earthquake early yesterday and affected parts of Bicol Region.

Senator Loren Legarda emphasized that frequent bulletins and early preparation is the best solution to natural calamities, outlining urgent measures and policy reforms to reduce disaster risk.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported the tremor occurred at 2:49 a.m. with a magnitude of 6.0 and epicenter estimated at 156 kilometers east of Virac, Cataduanes with a depth of 31 kilometers and with an intensity 3 in Virac, Catanduanes and Naga City; Intensity 2 in Legaspi City; Cabid-an, Sorsogon; and Guinayangan, Quezon.

Although there was no damage reported by Philvocs Loren who chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change said that metrowide contingency planning is required and urged government, including local government units in Metro Manila, to immediately assess the structural integrity of hospitals, schools, roads, flyovers and bridges and other public infrastructure.

Further, she said that there is a need for retrofitting or improving and strengthening the structures specially those sitting on earthquake prone areas.

"We should also insure these structures, so that we do not use limited resources. We know what will happen, so let's explore transferring the risk through insurance. That's a proactive way," said Loren.

The Philippines has a history of natural disasters. On July 16, 1990, a quake with a 7.8 surface-wave magnitude struck Northern Luzon, killing 1,621 people.

"The predominance of risks in our societies calls for urgent policy reforms. We need new policies that build local capacity beyond disaster response capability; new policies that link disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation and mainstream them into development action and formal education," added Loren.

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