Press Release
June 11, 2011

Legarda to LGUs: Integrate Climate Adaptation Tools in Land Use Plans
to Shield Economic Assets from Disasters

Senator Loren Legarda urged local government units (LGUs) to integrate disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) tools in their respective land use and development plans to ensure that progress will not be stunted due to weather-related occurrences.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, noted that the United Nations' 2011 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction showed that globally more people are protected from disasters, but the loss in economic assets have risen due to the same disasters.

"The risk of being killed by a cyclone or flood is lower today than it was 20 years ago. However, economic losses due to disasters continue to be in an upward trend and seriously threaten the economies of low-income countries," she explained.

"In the Philippines, over the last 30 years, the number of disaster events have increased three times, the reported number of deaths have decreased slightly, and the number of affected population staying the same, but alarmingly, the economic losses increased drastically by more than 17 times," she added.

Legarda said that while LGUs have improved disaster preparedness measures such as preemptive evacuation, population and assets are still located in hazard-prone areas, a clear manifestation of poorly managed urbanization.

The latest figures from Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board show that many cities and municipalities prepare their respective Comprehensive Land Use Plans or CLUPs, and most of these have not integrated the tools of DRR and CCA, except for the simple hazard maps, in delineating the use of land resource in their jurisdiction.

At present, there are 340 LGUs, which still need to update their CLUPs. Most of these are 3rd to 6th class municipalities that have low income but high vulnerability to various types of disasters. In addition, 23 provinces are also in need of developing their Physical Framework Plans.

"For our LGUs, the authority and system of comprehensive land use planning provides the opportunity for the integration of DRR and CCA. With the advent of the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act of 2010 and the Climate Change Act of 2009, the time and institutions are ripe for this kind of integration," she stressed.

"CLUPs may mention that a certain locality is flood-prone but there is no detailed exposure and vulnerability assessment. Information such as the severity, frequency and magnitude of previous damage and losses are crucial in identifying robust interventions in the LGU's CLUP and development plans."

"I call on our LGUs to institutionalize DRR and CCA in the local planning process and I also urge the National Economic Development Authority and the Department of Interior and Local Government, together with Office of Civil Defense and the Climate Change Commission, to assist our LGUs in this process," Legarda concluded.

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