CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/18 February) — Talking about climate change is useless if there is no attitude change, Senator Teoffisto Guingona said in his opening address at the Mindanao Summit on Disaster Risk Reduction and Geo-hazard Awareness.
“It would be useless if we stop at merely talking about Climate Change. There is another important agenda. And that agenda item is called .. Attitude Change,” he said, adding the times have changed, the climate has changed, and “kailangang magbago din ang ating pag-iisip at pananaw sa mundo at sa buhay” (we should also change our mindset and view of the world and our lives).
Guingona and Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, Mindanawon senators from Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro, respectively, convened the two-day summit at the Dynasty Hotel here to discuss Sendong and its many lessons.
Sendong’s fury triggered flashfloods that sent residents to their roofs and their deaths in the last hours of December 16 and the early hours of December 17. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported 1,227 dead in Mindanao, 734 of that from this city and 490 in neighboring Iligan City.
Summit facilitator Dean Antonio Lavina of the Ateneo School said the gathering of local and national officials, civil society representatives and survivors of the flashfloods was intended to discuss what really happened and what can be done to help prevent a similar tragedy.
“Never again a disaster like Sendong,” Lavina said.
Pimentel welcomed participants to “the Ground Zero of the Sendong incident.”
“We are here to learn whatever we can learn so that the more than 1,000 lives lost in Sendong would not have been lost in vain,” he said.
He referred to the Summit as a “back to basics seminar” from where “we can learn from our respective experiences, from scientific analyses and studies, and from best practices.”
“ Let us re-learn what we already know. Let us hear again what we have already heard. Let us sign again a covenant we have already signed. Back to basics never hurt anyone,” he said. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)