Press Release
September 28, 2012

Legarda Urges LGUs to Learn from Previous Disasters and Build Back Better,Cites Saint Bernard Experience

Senator Loren Legarda today urged local government units to learn from previous disasters and build back better as what the people of Saint Bernard in Southern Leyte did after the deadly landslide that occurred in one of their barangays in 2006.

"It was six years ago when the world saw one of the worst disasters of our time happen in Brgy. Guinsaugon, Saint Bernard. But the people of Saint Bernard pulled together to rise from the debris. Today, the Saint Bernard LGU works in partnership with a host of local and international organizations, for capacity building programs, livelihood and resettlement projects, disaster preparedness, and community-based early warning systems," she said.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, co-organized the National Conference for Effective Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Practices, an initiative of the European Union, with the Municipality of Saint Bernard, Southern Leyte, CARE Nederland, German Development Cooperation, and the Asia-Pacific Institute for Green Development.

Legarda, also the UN Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, added that Saint Bernard has recovered so well from the disaster that their Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council was this year's 1st place winner of the Gawad Kalasag Award given by the Office of the Civil Defense Region 8.

"The Saint Bernard experience is a clear example of how every disaster can become an opportunity to build back better and restore normalcy in people's lives with a stronger sense of hope and confidence for the future," she remarked.

The Senator also reported that the People's Survival Fund (PSF) bill, which she principally sponsored, was signed into law last August, giving better access to resources for those who combat the effects of climate change, especially in the grassroots.

"Republic Act No. 10174, the amendatory law to the Climate Change Act of 2009, will bring into fruition climate change strategies, plans, and programs within the context of local, community-based realities," she said.

"The best choice is to make our nation disaster-resilient to free us, once and for all, from the exhausting and costly cycle of rebuilding our communities every single time nature unleashes its wrath. This National Conference is one more step towards a safer, more resilient Philippines," Legarda concluded.

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