Press Release
December 4, 2012


As a potential super typhoon enters the Philippine area of responsibility, Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, PDP Laban President, urged the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) and the affected local government units to adopt "zero casualties" target.

"We have learned a lot from past calamities and tragedies," Pimentel explained, "We have the time and know-how to prepare for this so there is no reason why we should not aim for 'zero casualties' target." Pimentel said that government's preparedness has improved dramatically in the past typhoons. "I am glad that regional disaster risk reduction management councils, like that in Bicol, have already set into motion their preparations for the storm. There is nothing better than being prepared for any eventuality."

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Sunday that typhoon 'Bopha', expected to make landfall Tuesday, could become stronger than 'Sendong' which ravaged through the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro last year claiming 1,200 lives and billions in property and agricultural products.

Pimentel, a senator from Cagayan de Oro, said that government should use all its possible resources to protect the people particularly sectors such as the poor, children, elderly, women, indigenous peoples, and people with disabilities who are more vulnerable to disasters than others.

"I was a flood victim myself," related Pimentel, "I was in Marikina when Ondoy inundated almost the entire Metro Manila. Before Ondoy hit, I received no warning whatsoever about its potential hazards. During Ondoy, I saw for myself the absence of government. After Ondoy, I saw the hardships brought upon the people."

After the Sendong tragedy, Senator Pimentel organized a series of Summit on Disaster Risk Reduction and Geo-Hazard Awareness. "I organized the summits to give us the opportunity to learn and re-learn the lessons of past disasters. I believe it is unthinkable that a government is always caught unprepared by tragedies after tragedies as if we are incapable of understanding the lessons of the past."

Pimentel revealed that one of the most striking realizations he had during the summit "was the commitment people have to cooperate and focus on a common vision." "For example, the Mindanao summit gathered leaders and citizens of all faiths and ethnicities, from all regions of Mindanao." He said that he hopes that the same social trust and unity will prevail as the people of Mindanao and Visayas brace for 'Bopha'.

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