Press Release
March 5, 2010


After a 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked Southern Taiwan yesterday, NP-NPC-LDP vice presidential candidate Loren Legarda today reiterated her call for government and the NDCC to beef up its disaster-preparedness and response systems.

"First, it was Haiti, then Chile. And now the danger hits closer to our shores, with Taiwan being hit by a strong earthquake. Let's not wait for the next disaster to hit the Philippines before we reinforce our disaster preparedness," she said.

She emphasized that early preparation is the best solution to natural calamities, outlining urgent measures and policy reforms to reduce disaster risk. "It is not too late to make preparations. This is precisely why I am pushing for the integration of disaster risk reduction in the national, regional and local development policies and plans of the country," said Loren, United Nations' regional champion for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the Asia-Pacific region.

Loren said "metrowide contingency planning" was required. She said the national government, including local government units in Metro Manila, should immediately assess the structural integrity of hospitals, schools, roads, flyovers and bridges and other public infrastructure. The Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS) in 2002-04 warned that an earthquake with a magnitude of 7 or higher on the Richter scale will hit Metro Manila.

Loren concurred, saying that "it is only a question of when. The occurrence of a big earthquake in Metro Manila had been discussed for the last 10 years. More preparations are needed in accordance with United Nations prescriptions on disaster risk reduction." According to the study, 16,000 buildings would be destroyed and 150,000 persons would suffer injury in the projected Metro Manila earthquake. Millions of residents of Metro Manila, one of Asia's biggest cities with a total population of 12 million, would be affected.

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