Solons see successful 1st Mindanao Summit on Disaster Risk Reduction PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 18 February 2012 14:04

Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Teofisto Guingona III have expressed optimism to come out with comprehensive and uniform safety plan on disaster risk reduction for Mindanao as the national and local leaders and non-government organizations convene for the 1st Mindanao Summit on Disaster Risk Reduction and Geo-hazard Awareness this weekend.

”I’m optimistic that we will be able to come out with a master plan on disaster risk reduction for the whole island of Mindanao,” Pimentel said in a Senate media forum on Thursday.

For his part, Guingona believes that preparation and mitigation against the effects of all kinds of natural disasters should start from the community level up to the national level.

”The paradigm shift should not be from top to bottom but from bottom up, with the special participation of the community, specially the barangay leaders,” Guingona said.

Guingona said typhoon “Sendong” that devastated Northern Mindanao last December, killing more than 1,000 people, was clear proof that Mindanao, known as bread basket of the country, is no longer free from the effect of climate change.

”The country needs to be more proactive in the face of climate change. The focus should now be in disaster preparedness instead of disaster response and rehabilitation. Climate change is not just a trend. It is no longer a concept but a reality,” Guingona said.

Both Pimentel and Guingona are convenors of the summit to be held from February 18 to 19 at the Dynasty Court Hotel in Cagayan de Oro City.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines William ‘Bill’ Tweddell will deliver the keynote address in the opening day while Senators Loren Legarda and
Gregorio Honasan have been invited to share their experiences and thoughts on the disaster risk reduction.

Guingona said local leaders from other parts of the country, including Governor Joey Salceda of Albay, have committed to share best practices they applied to mitigate effects of typhoons and other natural disasters.

”The best practices used by the province of Albay through Governor Salceda would really contribute in our endeavor to prepare Mindanao for future disasters,” Guingona said.

Pimentel said the members of the House of Representatives representing the Mindanao region, governors and mayors and leaders of various NGOs in Mindanao have committed to attend the summit.

The officials of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Climate Change Commission, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical services Administration (PAGASA), Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) have also been invited to give lectures.

Pimentel noted that due to the geographical location of the Philippines, it is frequently beaten by typhoons, floods, landslides, droughts, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

In 2010, the Philippines ranked third in the list of countries with the most reported natural disasters. In 2009, the country ranked first.