Press Release
February 11, 2011

Legarda: Metro Manila and Alliance of Seven Mayors- ONE AGAINST RISK!

Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, today welcomed the mayors from the National Capital Region and the Alliance of Seven who participated in the Manila launch of the "Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready!" campaign of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) at the East Rembo Elementary School in Makati City.

Mayors who joined the commitment signing to the UN's Ten Essential Actions to Reduce Disaster Risks are: Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr., Caloocan Mayor Enrico Echiverri, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Pasay Mayor Antonino Calixto, San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez, Valenzuela Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian, Taguig Mayor Maria Laarni Cayetano, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Marikina Mayor Del De Guzman, Antipolo Mayor Danilo Leyble, Cainta Mayor Ramon Ilagan,Rodriguez, Rizal Mayor Cecilio Hernandez, and San Mateo, Rizal Mayor Jose Rafael Diaz.

"These local chief executives are one against risk. They have set aside their political affiliations and have chosen to be united in making the metropolis and their respective cities or municipalities disaster-resilient, especially that the impact of disasters can be more pronounced in more urbanized societies, where higher concentrations of national population and economic power are located," Legarda said.

The Senator explained that the Ten Essentials include investing more in disaster risk reduction, preparing and sharing risk assessments, ensuring early warning systems are in place, and protecting ecosystems to reduce the impact of floods, cyclones, and storm surges, among other natural hazards.

Other guests in the event are: Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francisco Tolentino; Dr. Rene Solidum, Director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology; Dr. Jerry Velasquez, Senior Regional Coordinator for Asia Pacific, UNISDR; Dr. Jacqui Badcock, UN Resident Coordinator; Secretary Armin Luistro, Department of Education; Undersecretary Teodoro Herbosa, Department of Health; Commissioner Mary Ann Lucille Sering, Climate Change Commission; and Undersecretary Benito Ramos, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Legarda, the UNISDR's Asia-Pacific Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, said that while the event is on making cities disaster-resilient, a special concern is ensuring that schools and hospitals, where the most vulnerable are--children and sick individuals--are safe from hazards.

"Local chief executives, in partnership with the Departments of Education and Heath, must ensure that all existing schools and hospitals are risk-assessed and that all new school and hospital buildings are hazard-resistant. This campaign is especially important in Metro Manila since it is most at risk of flooding and earthquake not only in the country but also in the whole of Southeast Asia," she explained.

"We have to cut across political boundaries in order to do what is best for our people. We need to put together our political will and actions for safer schools and hospitals, for disaster-resilient cities and municipalities, and for a country that is prepared to ward off the ill effects of natural hazards," Legarda concluded.

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