Press Release
April 1, 2011

Legarda Urges PNoy to Convene Climate Change Commission

Senator Loren Legarda today said that President Benigno Aquino III, who is the Chairman of the Climate Change Commission, must convene the agency to ensure that disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation is prioritized in the development agenda.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, reiterated her call following a report from an international company, Swiss Reinsurance Co., showed a significant increase in the economic cost of disasters. From $68-billion in 2009, it rocketed to $218-billion in 2010.

"The impacts of natural hazards have been a major constraint and an important development issue that many countries, including the Philippines, have to face time and again. With climate change, such hazards can be more frequent and intense. Thus, we need to strengthen our disaster prevention measures," she said.

Legarda said that the lessons of Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in 2009 and the threat of a magnitude 7.2 earthquake should remind the government, the national and local leaders of the country, and the citizens that disaster prevention and mitigation is more cost-effective than focusing on enhancing our capacities in relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation.

She explained that essential to disaster prevention is the improvement of early warning system and strengthening of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). She added that the government must also invest in flood protection and earthquake mitigation in Metro Manila.

"Furthermore, our local government leaders should be actively involved in the fight against disaster and climate risks because they are in the frontline and most in need of capacity-building," the Senator stressed.

"Without effective disaster prevention, hundreds of lives, thousands of homes, billions worth of properties and livelihoods, even government's growth and revenue targets, can be at the mercy of a single disaster. 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 disaster prevention," Legarda concluded.

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