Senator Loren Legarda today raised serious concerns on the country's state of exposure to disaster and climate risks, stressing that the Philippines continues to climb in global rankings on climate-vulnerability.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said that it is alarming that despite the legal mechanisms in place, such as the Climate Change Act and the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, the country has yet to reduce disaster and climate risks as established by global statistics.
"It is lamentable that despite our efforts to strengthen the country's defense against the adverse effects of natural hazards and of the changing climate, we remain high in climate-vulnerability indices. Our policies are all in place, we just need the faithful implementation of these laws," the Senator stressed.
Legarda noted that in 2009, the Mortality Risk Index by the United Nations International Strategy on Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) placed the Philippines 12th among the 200 countries most at risk from cyclones, floods, earthquakes and landslides; in 2010, the Climate Change Vulnerability Index ranked the country sixth most climate-vulnerable nation; while the World Risk Index 2011 considered the Philippines as the third most vulnerable to disaster risks and natural hazards.
"Do we have to wait for us to be at the top of these climate-vulnerability rankings? The whole world is telling us, matter-of-factly, that we are in great danger every time a natural hazard hits us, yet, it seems we always wait for disasters to happen before we learn the painful lesson that the lack of preparedness against disasters takes a huge toll in our country as more people die and more resources and investments are lost," she explained.
"Our disaster risk reduction and management system needs to be more proactive, coherent and effective. We have to establish early warning systems, make our infrastructures disaster-resilient, make our communities prepared whenever natural hazards occur, and we must link disaster risk reduction and preparedness to development planning. We will not train our sights merely on enhancing our capacities to re-build in times of disasters; but rather on reducing risks for our people and building lasting communities," Legarda concluded.