Senator Loren Legarda today announced that Philippine government officials and business leaders committed to greater involvement and cooperation for improved disaster-resiliency programs in the country.
Legarda said that this was the highlight of the consultative meeting she hosted and which was attended by UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction Ms. Margareta Wahlstrom, cabinet secretaries, foreign diplomatic corps, business and industry leaders, and media.
In the said meeting, Ms. Wahlstrom acknowledged Legarda’s commitment and immeasurable support to the United Nations’ mission as the Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, and expressed her support to the DRR regional workshops organized by the Senator that would ensure resiliency in the local level.
Ms. Wahlstrom also noted that the Climate Change Act of 2009 (R.A. 9729), and the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 (R.A. 10121), which the Senator authored and co-authored, respectively, are the best in the world, stressing that both laws highlight the policy shift from a reactionary to a proactive stance in addressing disasters.
Legarda, for her part, pointed out that “the challenge is to translate national policies, plans and programs into local action with measurable gains.”
In this regard, the Senator expressed appreciation over the positive response of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Education (DepEd) on her proposal to build green classrooms and day care centers that are disaster-resilient.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health also reaffirmed its commitment to the Safe Hospitals Campaign of the UNISDR through the inspection of all hospitals for disaster vulnerability, especially geo-hazard assessment of hospital sites.
“I hope that all agencies of government could share our vision and passion in building our communities’ defenses against disasters, and I also enjoin the private sector to do the same,” Legarda stressed.
The Senator said that the Senate Committee on Climate Change, which she chairs, will prepare an earthquake preparedness manual in coordination with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and with the support of the business community.
Moreover, Legarda will also file a bill that would require government-owned networks and radio stations, and private telecommunication companies (telcos) to be part of the government’s information dissemination campaign for disaster preparedness.
“Building a disaster-resilient country should be everybody’s business. We all have to work together and in synergy—the national government, the LGUs, the private sector—toward a unified action for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the country” Legarda concluded.***