Press Release
April 8, 2011

Legarda: Filipinos Demand Establishment of Early Warning Systems

As many Filipinos recognize the importance of prompt alerts on impending disasters, the government must heed the people's demand through the immediate establishment of early warning systems and prioritization of disaster preparedness programs, Senator Loren Legarda said today.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, cited the results of a recent Pulse Asia survey which revealed that 56% of Filipinos believe that the government must prioritize early warning mechanisms among its disaster preparedness efforts, followed by the storing up of relief goods (19%), designating evacuation centers (16%), and purchasing rescue and relief equipment (10%).

"It is good to know that many of our citizens are aware of the importance of establishing effective early warning systems in their communities. This should prompt the government, especially the local governments and barangay officials to work on it immediately," she stressed.

"Our early warning system must be able to integrate risk knowledge, monitoring and warning service, risk communication and warning dissemination, and the response capacity of the community," she added.

The Senator also noted that the same survey revealed that 61% of Filipinos were not satisfied with the services and assistance they received from the government after disasters. Such was the result even with the government spending millions for disaster relief operations.

She pointed out that investing in disaster preparedness, especially on early warning mechanisms, will not only save lives and properties but also reduce expenses on post-disaster efforts such as relief and rehabilitation.

"Effective early warning does not have to be costly. Sirens or whistles can be used as early warning devices and training programs for volunteers can facilitate awareness and education on disasters and arm the community against the perils of hazards. Communities that invest in early warning save a lot of lives and reduce the economic impacts of disasters," Legarda concluded.

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