Press Release
October 22, 2012


Senator Edgardo J. Angara expressed alarm over the results of the World Risk Index of the 2012 World Disasters Report, which ranked the Philippines third out of 173 countries in terms of susceptibility to disasters - next to small island nations Vanuatu and Tonga.

Angara, Chair of Senate Committee on Science and Technology, warned that the Philippines could suffer dire consequences if it does not adopt radical approaches to disaster risk reduction, mitigation and adaptation.

"We must focus on long-term solutions that will reduce our risks and vulnerabilities - and prevent disastrous impacts from happening again," Angara said. "Science and technology plays a more significant role in this regard, now more than ever."

The veteran lawmaker stressed the need to develop a comprehensive contingency plan which involves training on all levels of emergency management and response; utilization of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in information dissemination, rescue operations and relief efforts as well as adopting best practices from other countries like Japan, Korea, Taiwan and even the US.

He noted that the Philippines scored fairly in terms of education and research, environmental status and ecosystem and gender parity. Reports reveal that our score is comparable with our neighboring countries such as Thailand and Malaysia.

The World Risk Index measured every country's exposure and susceptibility to natural disasters, together with their coping and adaptive capacities using "globally available data."

Vulnerability to disasters, according to the report, is dependent on public infrastructure, medical services, prevailing nutritional situation, governance, level of education, availability of insurance, as well as the condition of the environment.

"So many factors have to be considered not just in mapping out which parts of the country are most vulnerable, but also in crafting disaster responses and contingencies," stressed Angara, who is also Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

"Our approach must be scientific which only makes it imperative for us to start building up on our S&T capacity towards disaster risk reduction, management and response."

The Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance then concluded by assuring that the the Senate will give priority to the effective implementation of disaster management and risk reduction plans in the 2013 national budget.

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