Press Release
June 30, 2012

Legarda Pushes for Disaster Preparedness in Bicol River
Basin this National Disaster Consciousness Month

In time for the National Disaster Consciousness Month this July, Senator Loren Legarda today called for improved management of the Bicol River Basin vis---vis strengthened disaster preparedness in the Bicol Region.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, is again organizing a Regional Workshop on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction, in partnership with the Local Government Academy (LGA) and the Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID), targeting local government officials and other stakeholders.

The Senator, who is also United Nations Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, earlier led similar workshops covering the Greater Metro Manila Area and the Pampanga River Basin.

"The Bicol River Basin, a complex system made up of several tributaries and watershed catchments, is located within a region of great but threatened forests and biodiversity, giving rise to entire hosts of environmental hazards. The lack of coordinated and integrated planning and management at the local government level is likely to aggravate these hazards, making it imperative for us to take action as soon as possible," she explained.

Legarda noted that among the most pressing concerns are the extensive flooding and inundation due to tropical cyclones, northeast monsoons, and storm surges by slow-moving typhoons near San Miguel Bay during high tide, and accelerated sedimentation in the southern reaches of the basin due to several eruptions of Mayon Volcano.

"Our aim is to create awareness among the public and private sectors about what continued environmental degradation and the lack of disaster preparedness in areas surrounding the river basins will result in. We aim to lay the foundation for a successful collaboration among local executives and stakeholders towards effective river basin management," she said.

"The best choice we have is to make our communities disaster-resilient to free us, once and for all, from the exhausting and costly cycle of rebuilding our communities every single time nature unleashes its wrath. Now is the time to save lives," Legarda concluded.

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