CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—A climate field school for farmers in Dumangas in Iloilo, a child-centered disaster risk reduction program in San Francisco in Cebu, a climate change academy in Albay, a river rehabilitation project as a flood-control measure in this Pampanga capital and climate proofing of schools in Digos and Alaminos cities.
These initiatives are among those that the Philippines is highlighting to show that about 70 local governments are striving to develop disaster-resilient provinces, towns and cities with the help of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), the acting chair of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (Ulap) said.
City of San Fernando Mayor Oscar Rodriguez, Ulap acting chair and president of the League of Cities of the Philippines, spoke on the crucial role of cities before leaving on Monday for the World Cities Scientific Development Forum, which starts in Chengdu, China, on Aug. 10.
Over 40 million Filipinos, or half of the country’s population, live in 122 cities, Rodriguez said.
He said his presentation in the forum focuses on the need to carry out sustainable development as an approach to strengthening the capacity of poor people to prepare for disasters, minimize the harm on them or cope with its impact.
“It must also be said that possibly due to scarce resources and uneven access to technical assistance, most human settlement areas and human systems have low adaptive capacities to climate threats,” Rodriguez said.
He said the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 (Republic Act No. 10121) underscores the importance of addressing the needs of those most vulnerable in calamity situations, like the poor and the elderly.
The Climate Change Commission, on the other hand, is concerned with capacity building for ecological balance and environmental stability, he said.
Rodriguez said city governments are raising awareness and assessing vulnerabilities arising from hazards due to climate change.
The City of San Fernando shared P100 million out of the city’s income to revive the San Fernando River as a flood drainer. This has made the city less prone to floods, safer for its 300,000 residents and more conducive to investments, Rodriguez said.
He said Cavite City focused on mangrove protection and coastline rehabilitation programs while the City of Sta. Rosa in Laguna passed an environment code which ensures a strategy for sustainable access to water.
“The whole community must take part in the initiatives to truly develop climate change and disaster-resilient communities … It must also ensure the survival of our communities,” Rodriguez said.
At least 27 Philippine provinces considered high-risk to earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and other hazards have prepared hazard maps with the aid of the United Nations and several government agencies, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
By Tonette Orejas
August 11, 2011