Press Release
July 19, 2012

Legarda to PNoy: Lead the road to disaster-resilient governance

With preparations for President Benigno Aquino III's State of the Nation Address (SONA) in full swing, Senator Loren Legarda renewed her call to place disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation high on the list of national government programs.

"The President's agenda is clearly aimed at creating a culture of responsible citizenship and responsible governance. A fundamental way to institute this reform is to lead the road to disaster-resilient governance - pursuing a comprehensive program that will address the ill effects of disasters and climate change on health, hunger and malnutrition, agriculture and fisheries, jobs and livelihoods, natural resources and energy," Legarda said.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change and United Nations Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific revealed that the Philippines is the world's most disaster-hit country in 2011, as reported by the Citizens' Disaster Response Center. Disasters from natural hazards last year cost the country P26 billion and displaced a record 15.3 million people.

"How can we achieve our collective aim for economic development and deliver the benefits our people long deserve, when every passing year, disasters -- such as flash floods and landslides from stronger typhoons and heavier rains -- claim countless lives and ruin our communities and livelihoods?" she added.

Legarda noted PNoy's priority projects on climate change adaptation and mitigation, but asserted that much remains to be done.

"The National Greening Program, the National Renewable Energy Program, the Project NOAH and the Geo-Hazard Mapping Project are welcome developments in our efforts to build disaster and climate-resilient communities. The Geo-Hazard Mapping Project in particular, if utilized, will ensure that we do not place our people, mostly the poor and vulnerable, their homes and livelihoods in high-risk areas, as identified in the maps," she remarked.

"However, these flagship programs will find meaning once we see improvement in the lives of the Filipino people. Meanwhile, full implementation of existing laws on solid waste management, climate change and disaster preparedness remains an urgent concern," she said.

Legarda has been spearheading regional fora across the country to promote the integration of environmental sustainability, disaster risk reduction, and climate change adaptation into local development planning, and share best practices among LGUs.

The Senator reported that the People's Survival Fund bill, which she sponsored, is nearing enactment. It strengthens the Climate Change Act of 2009 by helping achieve its objectives through provision of funds to local governments and communities for their climate change adaptation programs.

The PSF is a special fund in the National Treasury --- in the amount of one billion pesos that will be appropriated annually under the General Appropriations Act --- for the financing of adaptation programs and projects based on the National Strategic Framework on Climate Change. The fund may also be augmented by donations, endowments, grants and contributions

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