Press Release
October 29, 2011

Economic Dev't Should Not Worsen Disaster Impacts - Legarda

Senator Loren Legarda today said that the nation's economic development plan should consider the impacts of climate change so that it would actually contribute to the country's overall progress and not in the worsening of disaster risks.

Legarda, the United Nations Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia and the Pacific, made the statement as she noted that the situation in Thailand, which is experiencing one of the worst flooding incidents in its history, has been aggravated by intense urbanization.

"In the case of our neighbor country, Thailand, establishments and infrastructure such as highways, malls, and industrial parks have posed greater danger because instead of flowing along usual paths toward the Gulf of Thailand, floodwaters either buildup in these structures or are diverted into populated areas," she explained.

The Senator, who chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said that even the recent flooding in some provinces in the country has shown the impacts of poorly-planned urbanization.

Based on the research conducted by the University of the Philippines-National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP-NIGS) on the massive flooding during Typhoon Pedring, the dikes and fishponds near the towns of Hagonoy and Calumpit, Bulacan contributed to the inundation because the floodwaters were trapped instead of flowing from Central Luzon to the Manila Bay through the network of tributaries.

"Good governance--which means transparency, accountability and high standards in public service--is important in urbanization because responsible leaders would ensure that development will yield positive results and not cause additional burden to the nation and its citizens," she stressed.

"We must link disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation to national and local development planning by building homes, schools, and hospitals that are safe and secure amidst natural hazards; designing and constructing roads, bridges and other infrastructure that help spur economic growth with disaster risk reduction in mind; and recovering and rebuilding from any disaster impacts with building-back-better-and-greener as objective. Disaster risk reduction essentially means genuine development--development that is sustainable and economic growth that is resilient," Legarda concluded.

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