In light of the devastation wrought by Typhoon Pablo (Bopha) on Visayas and Mindanao last week, Senator Loren Legarda advocated a nationwide information campaign on geohazard maps.
“Based on the latest statistics released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 906 have died and 900 more remain missing, while we have incurred about P15 billion worth of damages due to Typhoon Pablo. These would have been avoided if our local government units and all our citizens had knowledge of geohazard maps,” she said.
Legarda, UN Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, said that everyone must have knowledge of their geographical location, and whether they are at high risk or not.
During the briefing called by the Committee on Climate Change on the use and implementation of the geohazard maps, the Senator stressed that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources should not only distribute these maps, but also, and more importantly, educate LGUs on how to read the map and how it will help them in their disaster risk reduction and management efforts.
“Am I living on a landslide area? Am I living in a flood-prone area? Filipinos in every barangay in the country need to know this information far before any typhoon signals are raised. Coupled with early warning signals at least seven days before any typhoon arrives, we should be able to radically minimize the casualties,” Legarda detailed.
“No mayor, barangay captain, or kagawad will put their constituents at risk by relocating them to danger zones. However, due to the lack of information, many have died because the relocation sites themselves are geohazard areas. We should plan our cities and municipalities accordingly,” she remarked.
“Disasters should not happen before we begin to take action. We should arm our local government officials with the right tools to ensure that our nation is always prepared and resilient to disasters,” Legarda concluded.***