Press Release
October 21, 2010


Senator Loren Legarda today urged local governments, particularly in the barangay level, to take the lead and start the rehabilitation of the country's ecosystems as a way to combat the destructive effects of climate change.

Legarda made the call to all local leaders as the country is set to hold on October 25 the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections.

"Whenever disasters strike, the effects and losses are always greatly felt in the local level, but sometimes invisible from a national or global perspective. That is why I call on our Barangay and SK leaders to include in their priority programs the formulation and implementation of a climate change action plan," the Senator stressed.

"Furthermore, our efforts to increase resilience to disasters and combat climate change would be more efficient and effective when we begin in the local level, and we must start through the rehabilitation of our ecosystems," she added.

Legarda, the Asia-Pacific Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, said that one of the drivers of the nation's vulnerability to disasters and climate change is the continuous decline of the ecosystems.

"The degradation of our ecosystems make us more susceptible to threats of disasters, particularly flooding and landslides. In fact, the destruction brought by typhoon Ondoy last year was intensified by massive deforestation, particularly the degradation of the forests of Sierra Madre," she explained.

To address this concern, Legarda had already filed Senate Bill No. 6, the Barangay Greening and Forest Land Rehabilitation and Protection Act of 2010.

The bill seeks to empower local officials to advance greening and rehabilitation and protection of forest lands as a priority adaptation strategy from the provincial to the barangay level.

It proposes the promotion of forestland rehabilitation and protection through the conservation, management and development of forest resources and biodiversity.

It also seeks the formulation of local greening programs with the aim to build, develop and maintain forest parks in provincial, city, municipal, barangay parks, roads, elementary school grounds and other public open spaces where appropriate.

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