Press Release
April 9, 2010

Loren champions safer schools and hospitals

NP-NPC-LDP vice presidential candidate Loren Legarda renewed her commitment to help make schools and hospitals safe from disasters as the United Nations and its partners launch the "One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals" global campaign in Manila on Thursday.

Loren, who is the United Nations Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia and the Pacific, enjoined her online followers "to contribute time, energy and resources for the safety of schools or hospitals".

On her webpage, Loren enlists the help of the youth and civil society to volunteer and support her Green VP advocacies, one of which is disaster-proofing schools and hospitals. They can do this by registering to become part of her online volunteer corps.

"Schools and health facilities, aside from being the shelter for the vulnerable- children, sick and elderly, are critical public infrastructures, especially in times of disaster when victims need emergency refuge, services and medical care. Therefore, schools and hospitals should be disaster resilient," declared Loren who is Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography; and Committee on Climate Change.

Loren added, "Hospitals should be structurally and organizationally resilient to any disaster. Health facilities and all health workers should be able to function fully, efficiently, and effectively during emergencies. Schools should have minimal disruption even after a disaster, thus continue to provide a healthy learning environment for the youth."

Loren said that based on international studies, the cost of disaster-proofing a school or hospital would add only 4 percent to the cost of construction. This cost is nothing compared to the risk of destruction and death of patients and staff during a disaster, and the equally high health, economic and development impacts in the aftermath.

"Building the resilience of the education and health sector to disasters is a worthy investment. It brings the double benefit of saving lives and achieving our development goals. This fact should be appreciated by the national and local governments and the private sector who have invested much in the country's education and health care system and share common responsibilities in running it," she said.

The One Million Safe Schools and Hospitals Campaign encourages an individual, a family, a community, an organization, a government, a business or any other entity to make a pledge for a school or hospital and make them safer now to survive disasters.

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