Lobregat reiterates city’s pledge to disaster risk reduction efforts PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 24 June 2011 14:08

Mayor Celso Lobregat has reiterated the city’s strong commitment to disaster risk reduction efforts to mitigate the hazards of climate change saying it is one of his administration central priorities.
The mayor said this, as he welcomed guests and participants to the 1st Regional conference on Climate Change dubbed “Reducing Risks, Building Adaptive Capacity” organized by the Ateneo de Zamboanga University and the Commission on Higher Education at the ADZU Dominguez Hall yesterday morning.
The two-day conference is participated by multi-sectoral groups coming from different parts of the region.

Zamboanga City, according to Mayor Lobregat, has experienced floods, storm surge, landslide, drought and other forms of calamities spawned by climate change as a result of global warming. In November 2007, the city was struck by a storm surge that displaced at least 2,216 families residing along the shorelines. It had a greater impact that resulted in the declaration of a state of calamity in 15 affected barangays. Assistance extended to the victims had reached P13.75 million.

Aware of the extent of damage caused by natural calamities, the chief executive said the city took a lead in preparing to stem the effects of climate change through information and awareness campaigns, that it initiated the Summit on Disaster Preparedness for Global Warming and Food Security—making Zamboanga the first city in Mindanao to conduct such forum with about 12,000 participants.

According to Lobregat, the summit indicated the city’s long term and unremitting advocacy to save the environment by undertaking measures to mitigate the effects of global warming. “It sent a strong signal that residents of this city are one in the effort to lessen the impact of this global threat,” he added.

Compact disks and leaflets of what transpired during the summit were produced and distributed to the different schools, offices and agencies in government, private groups and the barangays for wider dissemination.

In February 2010, a similar activity dubbed Multi-Stakeholders’ Forum on Climate Change Adaptation was conducted, focusing on the city’s vulnerability to the effects of climate change. The then Defense Secretary and National Disaster Coordinating Council Chairman Norberto Gonzales was the guest of honor. The forum also drew thousands of participants who signed the declaration of commitment to the effort to mitigate the hazards of climate change.

The city, however, does not only concentrate on awareness promotion to reduce disaster risks. “We also focus on long-term solutions. Environment preservation initiatives also form part of our priority agenda and these include reforestation (tree planting), construction of flood control projects, drainage systems, slope and shoreline protection,” he said.
In addition, he said, the city also initiated the creation of special bodies like Task Force Agua, Task Force Vecinos, Task Force Contra Avenida and Project 143.

Meanwhile, the two-day conference  had for its keynote speaker Presidential Adviser on Climate Change Elisea “Bebet” Gozun. CHED regional director Dr. Emylou Yanga also spoke on the significance of the conference.

Lobregat commended organizers of the conference, saying it will help achieve significant progress in the quest for approaches to confronting climate change in harmony with national and international policies.

“Confronting this challenge should be a common effort and goal. Our efforts both individually and collectively, no matter how small, will help mitigate the impact of climate change,” the mayor concluded.

The conference’s topics and resource speakers include Mindanao Development Authority chairperson Lualhati Antonino who will tackle about “Mindanao 2020: The Emerging Peace and Development Agenda for Mindanao”; Climate Change Commission Senior Science Research Scientist Maria Ayn Jella Villanueva  of the who talked about the national climate change framework and the climate change commission’s CCA initiatives; Environmental Science for Social Change Geomatics Manager Andres Ignacio who will lecture on    “Ascertaining the Uncertainties in Climate Change: Moving Towards New benchmarks that support climate change adaptation measures; Xavier University Engineering Resource Center Director Dexter Lo who will talk on Disaster Risk Management Initiatives for selected areas in Cagayan de Oro City: Micro-scale approaches and Ateneo de Davao University professor Engr. Marloue Pidor who will talk on Davao City Weather and River Water Level Telemetry System. — Vic Larato