The Senate yesterday passed on third and final reading the proposed Disaster Risk Reduction, Management and Recovery Act of 2009 sponsored by Sen. Rodolfo Biazon and co-sponsored by Sen. Loren Legarda.
Loren fully supports the passage of the bill "as it recognizes and addresses the important development issue that is growing disaster risk brought about by climate change".
The bill calls for the formulation of a comprehensive approach to addressing disaster risks through the formulation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction, Management and Recovery Framework.
This measure also proposes the renaming of the present National Disaster Coordinating Council into National Disaster Risk Reduction, Management and Recovery Council. This Council will be headed by the Secretary of the Department of National Defense with the Secretary of the DSWD and DILG, and the Director General of the NEDA as Vice-Chairpersons.
Loren, who is the United Nations' Asia-Pacific Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, is optimistic that the measure will help our communities become more responsive and more resilient to overcome the probable crises ahead.
"As we confront the prevailing and growing climate risks in our midst, our Government and our people must be ready for the worst scenarios -- stronger storms and heavier rains, more serious floods, more droughts, scarcer water, food shortages, displacement of families and livelihoods, and higher incidence of vector-borne diseases, among others."
The measure, recognizing these challenges, seeks to mainstream disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in development processes such as policy formulations, socio-economic development planning, budgeting, and governance.
"I laud the positive steps being taken by the Philippine legislature on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation," Loren said.
Last week, the Senate approved the Bicameral Conference Committee Report on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill No 2583 and House Bill 5982, both entitled Climate Change Act of 2009.
Under the bill, a Commission on Climate Change would be created to coordinate and synchronize climate change programs of national government agencies.
Loren, who also chairs the Senate Oversight and Standing Committees on Climate Change, said the bill highlights the synergistic action needed in dealing with climate change and reducing disaster risks.
Recognizing that climate change and disaster risk reduction are closely interrelated and effective disaster risk reduction will enhance climate change adaptive capacity, the bill envisions the integration disaster risk reduction into climate change programs and initiatives.
"I hope that both these measures will bring about the much needed paradigm shift – the change in our way of thinking and our way of doing – and give due importance to disaster prevention and disaster mitigation measures that clearly saves more lives and money more than disaster response or relief does alone," Loren added.