Loren: disasters pose serious threat to economy

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY  (MindaNews/05 June) —  Citing the Global Assessment Report of 2011, Senator Loren Legarda warned of dire economic impact of disasters.

In a privilege speech on June 1 in observance of World Environment Day on June 5, Legarda said the Global Assessment Report (GAR) of  2011 noted a dramatic decrease in mortality due to disasters but noted an upward trend as to economic costs of disasters.

“The risk of being killed by a cyclone or flood is lower than it was 20 years ago,” the GAR said but not in countries with poor economies and weak governance.

Legarda noted the same trend in the country. Citing a World Bank report in 2010, which observed that although the number of disaster events has tripled in the last 30 years, there was a slight decrease in mortality but the economic losses drastically rose 17 times.

In response, Legarda said, the government must integrate disaster risks in local land use and development planning.

She also highlighted the need to institutionalize the implementation of the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Law (DRRM) of 2010 and the Climate Change Act of 2009.

“At present, there are 340 LGUs, which still need to update their CLUPs (Comprehensive Land Use Plan).  Most of these are 3rd to 6th class municipalities that have low income but high vulnerability to various types of disasters, Legarda said.”

Upon interpellation on the government’s performance in implementing the DRRM Law and Climate Change Act by

After her speech, Senate Juan Miguel Zubiri, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment, asked Legarda on the government’s performance in implementing the DRRM Law and Climate Change Act. Legarda replied that government’s implementation “is slow and not a national priority.”

Legarda added that the President Benigno Simeon Aquino, who chairs the Climate Change Commission as mandated in the Climate Change Act, has yet  to convene the Commission.

The Commission is composed of the President, Vice Chair Atty. Lucille Sering and Commissioners Yeb Sano and Heherson Alvarez.

Legarda also said that she hopes President Aquino makes the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) bill authored by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and in the House of Representatives by Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada as priority bill when he delivers his second State of the Nation Address in July this year.

The PSF if passed into law seeks to raise at least P2-billion for climate change adaptation finance and disaster risk reduction.

Since 1972, the United Nations has been spearheading the celebration of World Environmental Day every fifth of June. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin/MindaNews)