Press Release
January 5, 2012

LGUs, Solons, Support Legarda's Call for Stronger Risk Governance

Recognizing the need for building a disaster resilient nation, members of the House of Representatives and local government units (LGUs) have expressed their support for Senator Loren Legarda's call for stronger risk governance.

Congressman Mel Senen Sarmiento of the First District of Western Samar raised the importance of the proper execution of disaster risk reduction-related laws, while Mayor Ramon Ilagan of Cainta stressed that communities must be able to withstand the impact of worsening disasters and climate change.

Sarmiento said that "laws such as the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, the Climate Change Law, and the Solid Waste Management Act, should be translated into concrete actions that would build the resilience of our country to disaster and climate change impacts. We have had too many disasters in the past years and these catastrophes have stalled our progress as a nation. We have to ensure that the policies we have are implemented well, otherwise, the laws we have worked hard on would not truly serve their purpose."

Sarmiento was among the participants of the Legislative Workshop on Effective Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in the Philippines, held in Incheon, South Korea in July 2011 and signed the Incheon Resolution, which primarily urges members of the legislature to exercise their oversight function in the effective implementation of DRR and CCA laws.

For his part, Mayor Ilagan explained that LGUs are in the position to initiate and strengthen disaster preparedness and mitigation programs as they would better know the vulnerabilities of their respective communities.

"Even before the effects of disasters reach the national level, affected barangays, cities and municipalities have already lost too much. Strengthening disaster resilience at the local level is crucial, but we also need a national plan that will guide LGUs in crafting their local plans to ensure that local policies are attuned to the goals of the national government," Ilagan said.

The Mayor of Cainta is among the signatories of the Kobe Resolution that was adopted by local officials who participated in the Caucus on Linking Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Effective Disaster Risk Governance held in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan in November 2011.

The Kobe Resolution urges LGUs to strictly implement laws relevant to DRR and CCA; incorporate DRR and CCA in local development plans including their annual budget; allocate funds for disaster preparedness strategies; engage other sectors of society and other LGUs to establish integrated and coordinated actions to address hazards and risks; and strengthen information, education and communication campaign to have a prepared and well-informed community.

Legarda welcomed the support of Ilagan, Sarmiento, and all signatories of the two resolutions, stressing that all government officials must strengthen their resolve to prioritize DRR and CCA in all aspects of governance and development planning.

"No other than us, the elected officials of the nation, have the power and the moral obligation to lead our people in building communities that are prepared when natural hazards strike and are able to mitigate the effects and cushion the impact of disasters," said Legarda.

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