Press Release
August 21, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara reiterated his call for technology-based disaster management in light of a report that ranked the Philippines as one of the top 10 countries facing high economic risk from natural disasters.

In its Natural Hazards Risks Atlas 2011, London-based risk-analysis firm Maplecroft reported that the Philippines ranked 7th in its list of countries that face "high" and "extreme" risks of economic exposure to natural calamities.

"The report underlines the urgency of the need to enhance our readiness in dealing with natural hazards. We should work with the world's experts in disaster science--both local and foreign--and find ways to bring in the technologies we need in the fastest way possible," said Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.

The United States, Japan, China and Taiwan took the top four spots in the report. The four countries were dubbed as representing "extreme risk" owing to their "absolute" economic exposure to natural hazards. Under the category large emerging economies, Mexico India, and the Philippines represented countries with "high risk," occupying the no. 5, 6 and 7 rankings respectively.

Maplecroft stressed that China, India, the Philippines and Indonesia face the highest economic risk from natural disasters, given their low figures in the report's Socio-Economic Resilience Index. In contrast, the US and Japan were reported to have the highest capacities in withstanding adverse impacts from disasters, despite absolute economic exposure.

"Our vulnerabilities greatly affect our competitiveness as a nation, as our inclusion in this list will dissuade potential investors. But more than anything, the report should remind us that the faster we improve our disaster-mitigation abilities, the more lives we could possibly save from the next 'Ondoy' or the next super earthquake," said Angara, also the Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

Angara noted that COMSTE is pushing for the establishment of the Philippine Disaster Science Management Center (DSMC), a public-private consortium that will help create more resilient communities in potentially disaster-prone areas.

The DSMC will act as a clearinghouse of disaster-related data, and a venue for collaborations between the academe, government and the private sector in disaster mitigation.

Currently, COMSTE and local partners, like the Manila Observatory, are collaborating with foreign experts from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Disaster Management Society of Taiwan (DMST) to reshape disaster science in the Philippines.

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