August 13, 2012
Legarda Stresses Need for Nationwide
In light of the devastation wrought by floods due to extreme weather disturbances during the past two weeks, Senator Loren Legarda today stressed the need for full compliance with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
"There is an overwhelming need for a comprehensive recovery and rehabilitation plan that will reduce the susceptibility of all sectors to the floods that threaten people's health, homes, and livelihoods. Solid waste management is central to such a plan," she said.
In her privilege speech on the State of Disaster and Climate Risks in the Philippines, Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, noted that the recent monsoon rains submerged 80% of Metro Manila in floodwater, leaving 92 dead and more than half a million Filipinos displaced. At present, over 89,000 families remain in evacuation centers as a result of these recent disasters, adding to the 3,995 families, or so-called "climate refugees" still residing in temporary shelters seven months after typhoon Sendong.
"Why do our flooding woes seem to worsen every day? A main reason is the non-compliance with our environmental laws. Sixty-two per cent or 945 of 1,516 LGUs nationwide still use open and controlled dumps which R.A. 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, prohibits," she explained.
"It is time to honestly ask ourselves if we are working on preventing and mitigating the floods or merely responding to their onslaught," she remarked, noting that while disaster response preparedness is important, it is never enough for saving lives and reducing socio-economic losses substantially.
The Senator, in suggesting best practices that LGUs can implement, cited the small town of San Francisco in Camotes Island, Cebu and the third class municipality of Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur.
"The town of San Francisco received the 2011 United Nations Sasakawa award for Disaster Risk Reduction by strictly enforcing their "no trash segregation-no collection" policy. The Municipality of Hinatuan won the 2010 Zero Basura Olympics because their townspeople worked together in cleaning clogged canals, their surroundings and seawater, as well as in regulating plastic use," she explained.
"The forces that threaten our people and the development of our country must be met with resolute will and sustainable solutions. Strong political will at the local and national levels can help bring about the big change we want to see," Legarda concluded.
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