Remain wary against climate change — Celso PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 07 September 2012 14:05

Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday called on residents of the city and the region to remain vigilant and heedful to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, as various agencies, the city government included, continuously undertake measures to stem the effects of global warming.

Lobregat issued this call as he warmly welcomed over 300 participants from local government units (LGUs), non-government agencies and other stakeholders from all over Region 9 to the Regional Forum on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction: A collaboration workshop for the Zamboanga Peninsula River Basins.

The day-long forum, held at the Garden Orchid Hotel convention center was organized by the Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) through the Local Government Academy (LGA), and Senator Loren Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Climate Change. It was intended to provide a platform for cooperation in addressing the threats of disasters and climate change brought about by global warming.

Lobregat said the weather patterns have changed throughout the country and the world. While in one area rains are more torrential, droughts in other areas are more intense, he said.

He said people should follow and not take for granted the things that should be done to better prepare for climate change.

“Some people just take it for granted, and there should be a wake-up call”, the mayor said in an interview with reporters.

In his welcome message, Mayor Lobregat said the forum “stresses on the importance of collaboration among LGUs on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in our bid to stem the effects of Global Warming”.

He said calamities or disasters—whatever form they take—bring devastating results, claim lives and destroy properties. “And while we may not be able to entirely stop calamities from happening, we can take measures to reduce its impact on our people and our lives.”

The forum yesterday, he emphasized was very essential to the city, the region and to the people “given the unpredictable conditions we are experiencing not only locally but globally. Our individual efforts are not enough, knowing the forces of nature. But I am confident and hopeful that this collaborative workshop for the Zamboanga Peninsula River Basins will be able to help us in addressing the problems.”

In his message, the mayor likewise took the opportunity to present what the city has done and continues to do on the aspect of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. In the recent past, city has experienced numerous forms of calamities caused by climate change.

The city government has spearheaded the conduct of information and awareness campaigns, participation in the yearly observance of Earth Hour-a 60-minute blackout to reduce the impact of global warming and the implementation of long term solutions that include reforestation, protection of city’s watershed, infrastructure development, inter-agency cooperation efforts through the creation of Task Force Agua, Task Force Vecinos and Task Force Contra Avenida and tagging operations and spot mapping activities for structures in the coastlines.

On the drawing board, is the construction of the proposed City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office which will serve as a depot or warehouse for emergency supplies and equipment.

And for humanitarian reasons, the city has also been quick to respond to disasters or calamities not only in the city but in other parts of the country as well, by sending relief assistance in cash and in kind.

On the other hand, Lobregat said, Zamboanga City, with its geographical location is also bounded by river systems and with climate change, these rivers systems overflow whenever there is incessant or torrential rains. “Only last Saturday, I had to rush to Curuan to personally oversee rescue and relief operations when the Curuan River overflowed, resulting in flash floods in communities along the river banks.”

That is why, he said, aside from constructing slope protection and rip rap projects, the City Government of Zamboanga is also strongly collaborating with the Department of Public Works and Highways which has recently completed the conduct of a master plan and feasibility study of flood control and drainage projects for selected river basins in Mindanao to include our very own Tumaga River Basin with a catchment area of 255 square kilometers.

Sen. Legarda was unable to make it to the event but sent her staff headed by Marvin de Guzman to represent her. Also present were officials from the LGA and DILG officials headed by Assistant Director Pedro Cuevas Jr. and several others. — Sheila Covarrubias