Legarda outlines urgent measures to reduce disaster risk

January 18, 2010 2:23 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Jan. 18 — Senator Loren Legarda stressed on Monday that early preparation is the best solution to natural calamities, outlining urgent measures and policy reforms to reduce disaster risk.

"There's no need to panic, but we should prepare now," said Legarda, who is the chair of the Senate committee on climate change and Philippine representative to the World Debate on impending natural disasters sponsored by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

The Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS) in 2002-04 warned that an earthquake with a magnitude of 7 or higher on the Richter scale would hit Metro Manila.

Legarda said she concurred, noting that "it is only a question of when. The occurrence of a big earthquake in Metro Manila had been discussed for the last 10 years. More preparations are needed in accordance with United Nations prescriptions on disaster risk reduction."

Legarda said, however, that it is not too late to make preparations.

"This is precisely why I am pushing for the integration of disaster risk reduction in the national, regional and local development policies and plans of the country," said Legarda, who is the UN's regional champion for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the Asia-Pacific region.

Legarda, who also chairs the Senate's committee on health, said "metrowide contingency planning" is required.

"Earthquakes do not kill, but unsafe structures do," she said, as she called on the health department to check the capacity and capability of all hospitals in the metropolis.

She said the national government, including local government units in Metro Manila, should immediately assess the structural integrity of hospitals, schools, roads, flyovers and bridges and other public infrastructure.

In addition, she raised the need for "retrofitting or improving and strengthening the structures."

"We should also insure these structures, so that we do not use limited resources. We know what will happen, so let's explore transferring the risk through insurance. That's a proactive way," Legarda said.

She said contingency planning should involve families, barangays, municipalities, provincial governments and the national administration.

The MMIERS was conducted in collaboration with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

According to the study, 16,000 buildings would be destroyed and 150,000 persons would suffer injury in the projected Metro Manila earthquake.

Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum Jr. had earlier said that the Philippine government was using the earthquake strength of magnitude 7.2 from the Valley Fault System (formerly known as the Marikina Valley Fault System) "for planning purposes" in anticipation of the big quake.

The Philippines has a history of natural disasters. On July 16, 1990, a quake with a 7.8 surface-wave magnitude struck Northern Luzon, killing 1,621 people. (PNA)



4 Responses to “Legarda outlines urgent measures to reduce disaster risk”

  1. Rache on January 19th, 2010 10:09 pm

    We should give importance to what Loren Legarda’s measures to reduce disasters risk. There is a high possibility that earthquake with high magnitude might hit our country and we should be ready to face this kind of disaster.

    I salute Loren for taking the initiative to let the people be informed on what to do in this kind events.

  2. Ronna on January 22nd, 2010 10:02 am

    Why is it that in the Libis area, in Eastwood, andami na skyrise buildings? Isn’t this part of the Marikina fault line? I just hope that the developers follow the building codes and that they are built to withstand very strong quakes, that this isn’t a disaster that’s waiting to happen.

    But I understand when an earthquake of such magnitude eventually hits the metro, all of Metro Manila will be affected. So its best to be prepared for the worst. The government should take the initiative, as early as now. And yeah, good job Sen. Loren for highlighting this, after the recent Haiti quake.

  3. ALAN ROMUALDO on January 23rd, 2010 1:41 pm

    Sa tingin ko naman yung mga professional high rise buildings e earthquake proof kaso pano naman ung iba na bahay o mga ordinaryong gusali lang? sana lahat ng mga nagpapatayo ng building bgo nila itayo e cguraduhin nilang earthquake proof un.. kasi panget ung ikamamatay pa ng lahat yan dahil lang hindi tau handa.

    prevention is better than cure.

  4. candida caresa on January 26th, 2010 4:21 pm

    wow… she is the only candidates na concern sa disaster n pedeng mangyari ulit sa pilipinas unlike others. others think of a way to help others pag nangyari na eh.. pero si sen. loren gusto n niya na isure n okies lahat bago mangyari which is good. atleast siya ginagwan n niya ng paraan ang pagiwas sa disaster. which is good nga naman. ganyan dapat ang iboboto natin mabilis kumilos hindi katulad ng iba na kikilos lng kapag may ngyari na..