Press Release
March 15, 2012

Legarda to Convene Forum on Disaster Preparedness
in Greater Metro Manila Area

Senator Loren Legarda will convene the Regional Forum on Effective Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in Greater Metro Manila Area (GMMA) on Friday, March 16, 2012, at the Quezon City Hall.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, has partnered with the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) in organizing this initiative.

Other partners include the Quezon City Government, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), the Manila Observatory (MO), the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), the Asia Pacific Institute for Green Development, and the Sangguniang Kabataan National Federation (SKNF).

Local government units (LGUs), non-government organizations, academe, youth, media, the private sector and other stakeholders from the National Capital Region (NCR), and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal will participate in the GMMA Forum.

"The National Capital Region is a disaster hotspot of the country. It serves as the country's financial and administrative center, accounting for almost 40 percent of the country's economic output. Its large population, the environmental issues it faces, the lack of decent housing supported by appropriate water, sanitation and sewerage systems, poor and uncoordinated land use planning which put the marginal population in unsafe settlements, make it a crucible for disaster," Legarda explained.

"Through this forum, we seek to increase local understanding of natural hazards, climate change and their impacts on the region and surrounding provinces and promote the integration of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) into local development planning," she added.

The Senator announced that the GMMA forum will set off the workshops that will be conducted in all regions of the country.

Meanwhile, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell conveyed the Australian Government's support to the Philippines' disaster preparedness efforts, stressing that "disasters and conflict drive people into poverty and threaten sustainable economic development. Investments made now will reduce the damage bill of future disasters on the lives of each Filipino. Australia will continue to work with our Philippine partners to make Filipinos safer, especially in highly-urbanised areas like Metro Manila, and more resilient to the threats from natural disasters and the changing climate."

For his part, UNDP Country Director Renaud Meyer, said that "the United Nations Development Programme is delighted to be associated with these series of fora on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation led by Senator Loren Legarda, UN champion on these issues. A major aspect of UNDP's support to the Philippines is on disaster risk reduction, noting that the impact of natural hazards, aggravated by the onset of climate change, is among the most challenging development issues confronting the country today."

"Disasters have catapulted the Philippines to third in the most vulnerable countries list and have set back significant development gains. However, disasters are preventable, as showcased in the many provinces where UNDP has provided support. Interventions like vulnerability and adaptation assessments have provided a solid basis for community based and managed early warning systems, operational contingency plans and risk -based land use and development plans which have provided the most vulnerable populations a chance to avoid costly disasters. But this work requires multi-sectoral and multi-level partnerships which can hopefully be forged through awareness raising activities like these fora," Meyer added.

Speakers in the forum include resource persons from the MO, UNISDR, Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Climate Change Commission (CCC), Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), UP School of Urban and Regional Planning, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Finance (DOF), and LGUs in the Greater Metro Manila Area.

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