Press Release
January 13, 2011

Legarda: Disaster Risk Reduction Means Genuine Development

Senator Loren Legarda, the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) Regional Champion, today stressed the importance of reducing disaster risks to achieve sustainable development and economic growth.

Legarda made the statement during the launch of the UNISDR's "Making Cities and Municipalities Resilient" campaign in Cebu City, where 51 mayors and vice mayors of various cities and municipalities in Region-7 expressed their commitment to the Ten Essential Actions to Reduce Disaster Risks.

"As national and local government leaders, we have the moral responsibility to usher and achieve genuine development for the country and our communities. Disaster risk reduction essentially means genuine development -- development that is sustainable and economic growth that is resilient," she said.

The Senator cited statistics showing that in the past thirty years, the Philippines was hit by 243 storms that caused economic losses amounting to $6.2 billion. She added that according to a UN report, those in the Asia-Pacific region are four times more vulnerable to natural disasters than those in Africa; and 25 times more at risk than those in Europe or North America.

Legarda said that the impacts of disasters, especially on developing nations, are daunting, which is why she was impressed with the sincerity and readiness of stakeholders in Region-7 to cooperate in raising awareness in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation among local government leaders and in forging local government commitment to action.

"I wish to congratulate Governor Gwen Garcia for her exemplary leadership in advancing disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in Cebu. I also wish to commend the leaders and champions whom we have just recognized here today for their significant work in building the resilience of their local constituencies to disasters," Legarda said.

She explained that since local government leaders are closest to the people, they have the privilege to translate national policies, plans and programs into concrete and visible actions for the people.

"The people expect good governance. But let me assure you that governing with effective disaster risk reduction is certainly a mark of good local governance. The people expect a better life, a brighter future. Let me further assure you that there is no better way to realize that aspiration than planning rightly and pursuing development that promotes equitable and sustainable growth and good care of the environment," Legarda stressed.

"Delivering well in these two expectations are legacies that you could certainly be proud of and for which the people will surely appreciate and long remember your service to them," she concluded.

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