Samar solon backs creation of special fund on disaster resilience

January 4, 2014 1:02 pm 

By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA, Jan. 4 (PNA) — Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento said over the weekend he is supporting proposals to set up a special fund to strengthen the country’s disaster resiliency capabilities.

He noted the creation of such a fund will ensure that Filipinos will no longer have to go through the same ordeal and devastation as they did when super typhoon "Yolanda" (international name: Haiyan) ravaged through Eastern Visayas last November.

“We have to assume that Yolanda will not be the last of its kind, especially now that there is a pattern of extreme and unusual climactic conditions apparently due to global warming. However, the amount of devastation caused by Yolanda will be the last if we are committed to prepare our country to be disaster-resilient,” Sarmiento said in a press statement.

“Certainly, there is no way that we can stop typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, El Nino, La Nina and other natural and man-made disasters from hitting us but what we can do is to help our people develop the right mindset on how to act before, during and after a disaster and ensure that our infrastructures are designed to withstand calamities,” Sarmiento pointed out.

He said he supports the proposal of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima for the creation of a Calamity Resiliency Fund which would finance projects that would enhance the country’s disaster resiliency.

According to Sarmiento, the proposal of creating a fund to be used in building up resilience in the country would definitely help reduce the loss of lives and damage of properties during calamities. This could also go a long way for research and development, especially on crops ideal to the country’s weather condition.

Sarmiento, who is a member of the Parliamentarians Advisory Group of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), attended recently the regular meeting of the group in Geneva where the Post-Hyogo Framework for Action was extensively discussed. HFA will end in 2015.

In that meeting, a consensus was made that governments should invest in risk reduction and disaster resilience to protect against catastrophic losses, and anticipate and prepare for emerging risks that cannot be modelled such as the case of typhoon Yolanda.

“Investing in resilience must be institutionalized among governments. By investing in resilience, we are saving lives and safeguarding the gains of the economy,” Sarmiento said.

He also cited the importance of the business sector in the country’s disaster risk reduction and management and there might be a need for Congress to enact a law that would provide incentive packages to entities and establishments that would build infrastructures which are disaster-resilient.

“Other countries have done this like Japan. Banks in Japan offer preferential interest rates to clients/ developers who will undertake projects with plans certified as disaster-resilient. Government is on the right track in the paradigm shift of pre-disaster programs,” he said. (PNA)



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