Press Release
June 7, 2012

Legarda: Let's Build a Disaster-Resilient Central Luzon

Senator Loren Legarda today stressed the importance of the sustainable management of the Pampanga River Basin in building resilient communities in Central Luzon.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, made the statement at the Collaboration Workshop for the Pampanga River Basin held at the Oxford Hotel, Clarkfield, Pampanga, which was participated by various stakeholders from Central Luzon including local government units, non-government organizations, academe, youth, media, and the private sector.

"We need to ensure improved management of the Pampanga river basin as the whole of Central Luzon and nearby provinces in Regions I and II will be greatly affected by hazards that would hit the river basin, and the tributaries connected to it form a system that supports life and livelihood of a great proportion of the country," she stressed.

The Senator pointed out that Central Luzon is an important source of the country's basic needs, as it is the top producer of rice. In 2011, the region produced 2.6 million metric tons of rice.

Meanwhile, the Pampanga River Basin provides about 90%of the domestic water needs of Metro Manila.

However, Legarda noted a study by the Manila Observatory which revealed that Central Luzon is a high risk region, while Pampanga is the second most at risk province nationwide, in terms of vulnerability to disasters and climate change.

In fact, during the onslaught or Typhoons 'Pedring' and 'Quiel' in 2011, massive rains flooded several provinces including Pampanga, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija, and damaged a total of 281,754 hectares (has) of agricultural land and 530,000 metric tons (MT) of palay, estimated at Php8.6 Billion, in Central Luzon.

"We have to keep in mind that climate change adaptation is water adaptation. Implementing sustainable management of river basins builds the resilience of communities and the economy. This results from both effective water governance, which builds adaptive capacity that is vital to successful climate change adaptation, and well-functioning watersheds," Legarda explained.

"It is imperative that we integrate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation into local governance. In relation to our disaster resiliency efforts, I am pleased to announce the passage of the bicameral report on the People's Survival Fund, which will be a funding facility for climate change programs of LGUs," she stressed.

"Now is the time to face bravely the many challenges ahead. Let us push for more meaningful action at the local level and a sustained collaboration among local governments and stakeholders of the Pampanga river basin," Legarda concluded.

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