Press Release
March 16, 2012

Legarda Urges LGUs in Greater Metro Manila Area
to Boost Defense against Disasters

Senator Loren Legarda today urged local government units in the Greater Metro Manila Area (Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal) to heighten their defenses against disaster risks and climate change impacts.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, made the statement as she convened the Regional Forum on Effective Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) in GMMA at the Quezon City Hall.

The Senator said, efforts must be doubled as the National Capital Region is the seventh most vulnerable in Southeast Asia and first in the Philippines in terms of its vulnerability to multiple climate hazards such as cyclones, landslides, earthquakes, floods and droughts.

"For cities like Metro Manila, where the main threats of extreme rainfall, sea level rise, and more powerful typhoons are present, a major flood could cause damage totaling almost a quarter of the metropolitan area's gross domestic product (GDP) or 560 billion pesos," Legarda stressed.

She cited experiences that show GMMA's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change--2009 typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng caused unprecedented flooding in Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Laguna, and Cavite; killed almost a thousand individuals, affected two million families, and caused damages and losses amounting to 4.4 Billion US dollars or the equivalent of 2.7 percent of the country's GDP.

Meanwhile, typhoons Pedring and Quiel in 2011, battered several provinces in Luzon, including Bulacan, and caused Php13.9-billion worth of damages in agriculture and public infrastructure.

Legarda said that through this forum, effort is made to encourage local governments' commitment to action.

"We aim to increase local understanding of disaster and climate science, impacts, and policy responses; encourage disaster and climate-proofing of development plans and learn from successful experiences from the field."

"Ultimately, the objective of this forum is to help local leaders make the right choices for our people," Legarda concluded.

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