Senator Loren Legarda said that in order to ensure the safety of our communities against natural hazards, the government must lead a whole-of-society approach to reducing disaster risks, preventing the creation of new risks and building resilience of local communities and the nation as a whole.
Legarda made the statement as the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) released a study that showed 2015 was the hottest year on record and the Philippines ranked fourth among countries hit by the most number of disasters caused by natural hazards in 2015.
"We are vulnerable to natural hazards because we are an archipelagic and developing nation located at the western edge of the Pacific Ocean and directly within the Ring of Fire. To address our vulnerability, our government must work double time to achieve the goals under the Sendai Framework for DRR as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the country's Intended Nationally-Determined Contributions (INDCs)," said Legarda, UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience.
The Senator explained that understanding the risk will help us know how we can effectively address it, "for governments to develop the necessary programs, for legislators to create the appropriate enabling policies, for local governments to develop multi-hazard early warning systems based on the specific risk present in their communities, for the private sector to invest in risk-reduction measures, and for citizens to be proactive in helping reduce the risks."
"We need to bring action down to the local level and to be able to do that, everyone must have a good grasp of the risks so that everyone is part of crafting the solution and the actual implementation," she added.
Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committees on Finance and Climate Change, said that she made sure the implementation of programs authorized under the 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA) would contribute towards disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation and mitigation.
"We have introduced special provisions that reiterate the implementation of our environmental laws, such as the Rainwater Collectors and Springs Development Law, Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) Law, Climate Change Act, Renewable Energy Law, Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, People's Survival Fund Act, among many others. Agencies of government are required to contribute to implementing these laws, which should help us carry out our commitment to achieve the goals of the Sendai Framework for DRR," Legarda concluded.
The Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030 sets four priority actions: understanding disaster risk; strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk; investing in DRR for resilience; and enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and to 'Build Back Better' in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.
It outlines seven global targets to be achieved over the next 15 years, including substantial reduction in (1) global disaster mortality, (2) numbers of affected people, (3) economic losses in relation to global GDP, and (4) disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services. It also aims to achieve (5) an increase in the number of countries with national and local DRR strategies by 2020, (6) enhanced international cooperation, and (7) increased access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments. (Senate)