Press Release
March 4, 2011

Legarda Shares PHL Experience in Disaster Risk Reduction and
Climate Change Adaptation at Vietnam's National Forum

Senator Loren Legarda will speak today before the Deputy Prime Minister and other senior officials of the Government of Vietnam and its development partners on disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) and share with them the Philippines' experience in integrating these initiatives to better build the nation's resilience to disasters.

Legarda was invited to be a keynote speaker in Vietnam's 2nd National Forum on DRR and CCA being the UNISDR Regional Champion for the Asia-Pacific and a legislator in the Philippines.

The Philippines and Viet Nam share the annual threats of typhoons which often cross both countries. As Viet Nam strives to develop national legislation on DRR and strengthen its national institutional coordination between DRR and CCA, the experience of the Philippines in both efforts can serve as an inspiration, not only in Viet Nam but elsewhere in the region.

According to Dr. Jerry Velasquez, UNISDR Senior Regional Coordinator, the Philippines is leading inefforts to strengthen and link DRR and CCA in the region, especially with the passage of landmark laws such as the Philippine Climate Change Act of 2009 and the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Act of 2010 and the signing of an MOU between the agencies responsible with the implementation of these laws. He attributed this to the proactive leadership of Senator Legarda.

Legarda explained that the Climate Change Act is focused on strong government-wide coordination, multi-stakeholder consultation, high-level leadership, and links to science and local level action; while the DRRM Law strengthens the Philippines' institutional mechanisms for disaster risk reduction and management and lends great importance to disaster prevention and mitigation.

"We have relentlessly worked for the passage of the Philippine Climate Change Act of 2009, with the able assistance of UNISDR Asia-Pacific. This law is in fact considered by the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union as a legislative model. But the greater reward is to translate this law into concrete and measurable targets towards building the resilience of the vulnerable to climate impacts," the Senator said.

"Recently, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and the Climate Change Commission took a significant stride towards a more effective cooperation in building our country's resilience to disasters. They have jointly endeavored to enhance the understanding of risk and reduction measures by local chief executives and community leaders, and build common risk information systems for making effective development and action plans," the Senator citing a collaboration in the Philippines that is first in the world.

She also said that the lessons of Typhoons Ketsana (Ondoy) and Parma (Pepeng) in 2009 have taught the Philippines to focus on effective disaster prevention to significantly minimize, if not totally prevent, the loss of lives, homes, properties, livelihoods, and even the government's growth and revenue targets when extreme weather events occur.

"We realized that as a country and people at risk we need to rethink our approach to protect development from the regressive impacts of disasters. We must be proactive to protect our hard-earned socio-economic development gains and to save lives and livelihoods," Legarda stressed.

"The Philippines will continue its proactive leadership in DRR and CCA, and as the UNISDR Regional Champion, I will ensure that we will help in the integration of these two interlinked strategies in other countries," Legarda concluded.

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