Wednesday, September 30, 2015



*Speech of Senator Loren Legarda as delivered by Commissioner Emmanuel de Guzman, Climate Change Commission during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Philippines 2015 9th Senior Disaster Management Officials Forum held on September 22, 2015 in Iloilo City. (1st of 2 parts)

Sen. Legarda
It is my distinct honor and pleasure to speak before senior disaster management officials of the Asia-Pacific economies.

Foremost, we express our solidarity with the nation of Chile and commiserate with those who lost their loved ones in the recent 8.3 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that hit the country. But we also admire this nation (Chile) for heavily investing in resilient infrastructure, imposing stringent building codes, and continuously improving on their early warning systems without these disaster risk reduction programs, the casualties could have been more and the damages greater.

I believe everyone in this hall is very much aware of the harsh reality each of our nations is faced with because of the new normal. We all know the great challenge we need to address and our goal is for our respective economies to effectively incorporate disaster risk reduction in our development agenda.

Through many decades, the complexity of the development problems in our world has been widely examined for insights into better approaches and solutions. Yet, the problems have persisted and the tasks for well-intentioned development leaders have become even more daunting as ever.    
Our world is wrought with danger. Disasters abound and they are getting bigger and deadlier. We have seen many times the impact of weather extremes and the prevalence of disaster risk, exacerbated by climate change.

The past decade alone saw disasters continue to exact a heavy toll a staggering 1.5 billion people were affected in various ways, including over 700,000 people killed and 23 million made homeless by disasters. The total economic loss was more than US$1.3 trillion.

The United Nations Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 points to the growing global inequality, increasing hazard exposure, rapid urbanization, and the over consumption of energy and natural capital as major factors that would “drive risk to dangerous and unpredictable levels.

Prior to the adoption of the Post-2015 DRR framework at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (3WCDRR) that was held in Sendai, Japan last March, the review of nations’ implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) showed that among the five priority actions of the HFA, making disaster risk reduction a policy priority and strengthening institutions has progressed the most. However, translating policies into action is a different issue altogether.

In its mid-term review of the HFA, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) declared, “less evident is improvement in the decentralization of responsibilities and financial resources for disaster risk reduction, as well as the systematic involvement of communities in the development of strategic plans for disaster risk reduction.”

Here in the Philippines, we enacted the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act in 2010. This law provides for the development of action plans and the implementation of measures pertaining to all aspects of disaster risk reduction and management, including good governance, risk assessment and early warning, knowledge building and awareness raising, reducing underlying risk factors, and preparedness for effective response and early recovery. (to be continued next issue). /MP

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