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Senators remind gov’t to prepare for disasters due to climate change


MANILA, Philippines—As if the country’s power woes are not enough, senators on Monday  warned that the government must also start gearing for disasters, including coastal floods due to climate change and strong earthquakes, that experts say may occur any time.

Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano pointed to a recent study by the Asian Development Bank warning of the Philippines’ rising sea levels.

“A recent study of the ADB … identifies the Philippines as (among) the world’s most vulnerable … to climate change. The country ranks fifth globally in terms of the number of people to be affected by sea level rise,” he said.

The ADB report titled “Addressing Climate Change and Migration in Asia and the Pacific” acknowledged that sea level rise is already seriously threatening communities with coastal flooding with most of them found in Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar.

Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, became a steady entry in global news recently after floods inundated it for several weeks. The incident had a severe effect on its tourism and economy.

Cayetano said his concern stems from the “absence or seeming lack of preparation” on the part of the government “for climate change related calamities in areas where increases in sea levels pose immediate threats to communities.”

The Philippine archipelago is lined with coastal communities that depend on fishing for livelihood.

As early as 10 years ago, climate experts have already warned that the melting polar ice could cause sea levels to rise by at least one meter.

Philippine coastal communities could be displaced and their residents left without livelihood, they also cautioned.

“Tropical cyclones and flashfloods that killed and displaced hundreds of thousands of people in Mindanao and the Visayas last year and previous calamities caused by storms ‘Ondoy’ and ‘Pepeng’ should serve as crucial lessons for the government to learn from,” the senator said.

“Efforts must be made to identify areas that are at serious risks on account of rise in sea level so adequate planning and preparations can be made,” he said.

The ADB report recommended that governments must invest heavily on improving urban infrastructure resilient to harsh calamities and basic services to people in times of these disasters such as health, water and sanitation and education for displaced schoolchildren.

“We can no longer afford to simply take risks when flashfloods and typhoons hit any part of our country. Our poor people are constantly helpless due to lack of government programs and strategies for their timely safe evacuation to safer places,” said Cayetano.

Meanwhile, Sen. Loren Legarda said government officials must also gear for a strong earthquake that could strike in Luzon anytime.

Legarda, chair of the Senate climate change committee, said numerous warnings have already been aired about how the Marikina fault that runs from the Sierra Madre mountain range in eastern Luzon to Laguna province is “ripe” for another movement.

She noted that experts have warned that structures, especially those in the Metro Manila, may not be strong enough to withstand the strength of a possible 7.0-magnitude earthquake.

“Even the integrity of this Senate building is suspect. What if a tsunami from Manila Bay hits because of an earthquake,” she asked in a recent huddle with reporters.

Cayetano noted that donations and relief operations are short-term programs and do not address the main issues for mitigating the impact of climate change in the Philippines.

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Tags: Asian development bank , Climate Change , Disaster risk reduction , rising sea levels , Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano , Senator Loren Legarda

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OSPLKSPHZHKEVAMNJQQV4GDGAQ ely

    huwag na kayo umasa pa kay PNOY.

    Wala naman talagang PLANO si PNOY at mga KKK nya. habol nya ang HACIENDA LANG AT COCO LEVY FUNDS NA KANILA DAW.

    housekeeping lang kaya nya IPUNA sa mga findings nya.

    Noynoying talaga.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OSPLKSPHZHKEVAMNJQQV4GDGAQ ely

    tingan ninyo kung tama ang pag iisip ni PNOY…

    Inspection nya sa airport, ports at iba…


    pag ganito ang PAG IISIP NANG ISANG PANGULO.

    sabihin ko sa INYO bobo talaga sya.

  • Ommm

    Well isn’t “climate change” just an ambiguous statement….. after all the climate has been changing since life on earth began. Ice ages and droughts, disappearance of the dinosaurs … the new breed of dinosaurs, self serving politicians , is also becoming an endangered species…. so they frantically preach doom and gloom to justify their existence.

    The seas rise twice a day…its called tides, and the tides they are a changin…

  • Philcor

    Yeah right, the top brass of the country needs to be reminded occasionally on what to do since he does not have any clue as to what is deemed important and necessary for Filipinos. His priorities are only for his personal satisfaction…

  • EdgarEdgar

    Peter Cayetano never ceases to amaze me. Who would have known that one could read so much from a balot when held up to bright light and now prognosticate doomsday scenarios. I hope Peter’s sincerity is for real this time. And I further hope Peter can push the president to do more in preparation of the doom and gloom Peter has so enthusiastically spelled out.

  • simondj

    If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicle 7:14,,,
    no amount of human effort or endeavor can save from natural calamity (earthquake, tsunami, typhoon) only God has the power over these things,, plus the threat of south Korea and the dispute on Spratly Island,,, i think the PRESIDENT should stop for a moment and consider his ways

  • DiegoDelFiero

    I think a concerted effort is needed to make the  responsible officials act posthaste before another disaster like Ondoy and Pepeng strikes the country again!
    Let us stop being reactive and start being proactive for our own sake! 

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