PH disaster map bill passes first reading in House of Representatives
MANILA, Philippines — A bill seeking the creation of a national disaster map of the Philippines hurdled the first reading in the House of Representatives, according to the bill’s author Quezon City First District Rep. Juan Carlos “Arjo” Atayde on Saturday.
If passed into law, House Bill No. 7278 or the National Hazard Mapping Act would mandate government agencies, including the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Science and Technology, and more to provide a map “identifying the low-lying areas vulnerable to rising sea levels as a result of climate change and areas at high risk for natural disasters.”
“No one can predict or prevent natural disasters, but we can most certainly prepare our countrymen for them,” said Atayde in a message on Saturday.
According to Atayde, the bill passed the first reading on Tuesday in the House Committee on Climate Change, chaired by Bohol first District Rep. Edgar Chatto.
“This measure will arm our people with the knowledge they need to take the steps necessary to ensure that their families and their homes are out of harm’s way,” he said.
The said map will also mark lands that border sea levels, exposed to volcanic eruptions, and lying on earthquake fault lines.
“This information provided by a national disaster map will help people all around our country, which we know is vulnerable to disasters. Even here in Quezon City, we see that there are places that are very dangerous to construct or build a house,” said Atayde.
A similar initiative has been established before called the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (Project NOAH), but was hounded by lack of government funding.
Project Noah, however, has since been adopted by the University of the Philippines.