Press Release
March 9, 2011

Loren Pushes for a Disaster-Resilient Philippine Development Plan

Senator Loren Legarda today said that the country's development plan must be climate change-sensitive and responsive to sustain the gains that would be achieved by the government in the next six years.

During the Senate briefing on the United Nations-World Bank Publication "Natural Hazards, Unnatural Disasters" last month, Legarda and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Cayetano Paderanga Jr. agreed to establish a multi-sectoral committee to review the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP 2011-2016) and ensure that the government's strategy is climate change-sensitive and responsive so that progress will not be hindered or stunted due to weather-related occurrences.

"This is one concrete approach that was identified during our discussions with World Bank officials. It clearly established the imperative to mainstream disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in our poverty-reduction and development strategies," said Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change.

The MTPDP outlines the national government's economic and development priorities for the next six years.

Legarda pointed out that having a disaster-resilient development plan would significantly reduce government expenditure on rehabilitation after every disaster.

She noted that the damage wrought by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in 2009 already require reconstruction fund of Php227 billion, a huge amount that could be used instead for other government priorities such as education, health, public infrastructure development, or agriculture and rural development.

Furthermore, the World Bank and UN joint report "Economics of Effective Prevention" says that annual global losses from natural hazards such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and flooding could triple to US$ 185 billion by the end of the century, even without calculating the impact of climate change. Climate change could add another US$28-68 billion from tropical cyclones alone.

"These figures all the more support the demand for more and better spending for pro-active measures. Disasters maim and kill. They devastate the environment and set back economic development. Yet disasters can be prevented if we have the political will to invest in risk reduction," the Senator said.

"We should not train our sights merely on enhancing our capacities to re-build after each and every disaster. For without effective disaster prevention, hundreds of lives, thousands of homes, billions worth of properties and livelihoods, even government's growth and revenue targets, specifically our development goals, can be at the mercy of a single extreme weather event," Legarda concluded.

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