Press Release
May 1, 2012


LEGASPI CITY -- Senator Aqulino "Koko" Pimentel III will again lead government officials and community leaders of the Bicol region in the conduct of a region-wide summit on disaster-risk reduction and multi-hazard awareness on May 3 at the Aquinas University in Legazpi City.

Pimentel said that government officials and leaders of the Bicol region will gather together to adopt an action plan to effectively manage and reduce the effects of weather disturbances, calamities and natural disasters in the high-risk region.

Similar conferences, attended by the country's experts in climate change, were held earlier in Mindanao and Western Visayas to formulate their respective emergency action plans geared towards effective and efficient disaster-risk management.

Pimentel said that disaster risk reduction is the collective responsibility of the people, and the government has the duty to protect them, particularly the poor from the worsening impact of natural and man-made disasters and of climate change.

"A well-prepared citizenry can truly contribute to disaster risk reduction," said Pimentel, adding that at least 20 typhoons enter the country's area of responsibility each year, half of which makes landfall.

He said that from years 2000 to 2007, eight of these typhoons proved to be the most destructive and costliest in memory, destroying some P100 billion worth of crops and infrastructure projects and claiming thousands of lives, many drowned during floods.

Local officials, led by governors and mayors, members of the academe, the business community and the media and various non-governmental organizations and socio-civic groups, are expected to attend the day-long summit.

Pimentel said that the participants are expected to adopt a Bicol Declaration that will spell out their commitment in enhancing their disaster-risk reduction competence in a unified effort to protect lives, save properties and lessen infrastructure losses during disasters.

The country is one of the most blessed nations in the world with a cyclical wet and dry season. But that gift which is the bedrock of its economy is also one of its greatest threats being situated in the so-called Asia-Pacific ring of fire.

Pimentel, however, believes that when managed and utilized properly, "the blessings of nature can very well provide for the future of the Filipinos and their children's children in the future.

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