Press Release
July 30, 2012

Legarda to Gov't: Heed Warning Signs of
Bigger Disasters, Actions Must Be in Place

Senator Loren Legarda today called on the government to heed the warnings of bigger disasters and stressed the need to ensure that actions are in place to lessen, if not totally prevent, damages caused by natural hazards.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, made the statement as communities in the National Capital Region and Northern Luzon experience heavy rains and strong winds brought by Tropical Storm Gener.

"As a country that is often visited by typhoons, which now bring heavier rains and stronger winds, disaster preparedness systems should now be in place and continuously upgraded to be able to protect our communities from extreme weather events," she explained.

"We need to be proactive if we are to win against disaster and climate change," she added.

The Senator noted key disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation projects of the government.

"The National Greening 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. Project NOAH, meanwhile, plays a crucial role in the dissemination of disaster risk warnings down to the barangay level," Legarda remarked.

"These developments must be complemented with the full implementation of existing laws on solid waste management, climate change and disaster preparedness. The government must make our laws work, ensure the coordinated implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, Clean Water Act, Climate Change Act of 2009 and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010," she pointed out.

According to Legarda, national and local action must promote disaster prevention with 'zero tolerance' as a mindset and approach, bringing disaster preparedness to an even heightened level and aim to have no casualties for the succeeding typhoons.

"To reduce the adverse effects of typhoons, concerned agencies both from the national and local governments should come up disaster preparedness action plans, ensure that all canals and drainage systems are cleaned up and no families live in high-risk areas, release frequently updated advisories and ensure that areas expected to be affected are prepared--activate all forms of early warning systems, set up evacuation centers, evacuate families living in landslide-prone and flood-prone areas," she added.

"To save lives, we must confront the challenge of worsening natural hazards with compassion, commitment and capacity," Legarda concluded.

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