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PIA Press Release
2009/10/29

PGMA asked to certify urgent Disaster Reduction Bill

by MS Arguelles

Legazpi City (29 October) -- Climate Change advocates during the recently held National Conference on Climate Change Adaptation + 2 (NCCCA) asked President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to certify as urgent the passage of the Disaster Reduction Management Bill (DRMB) still pending in Congress.

The NCCCA, led by the province of Albay, has drawn up several recommendations that will help government adapt to the impact of extreme weather conditions in the country such as the urgent approval by Congress of the DRMB.

The proposals were contained in the Manila Declaration 2009 -- the final output of the three-day conference -- which the group formally turned over to the chief executive on Thursday.

The Manila Declaration affirmed government's commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the recently-enacted Climate Change Act of 2009.

The proposals submitted was for the President to "include the recommendations of this Declaration in the drafting of National and Sectoral Development Plans, the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Climate Change Act, and the National Action Plan on Climate Change, all local development plans and programs and their budgets."

Led by Albay Gov. Joey S. Salceda, conference participants urged government to acknowledge that climate change adaptation is a critical issue for provinces, municipalities, cities and barangays in the country.

"Disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) are not expensive in the long term. These are huge economic investments and should be pursued under the context of sustainable development, the guiding rule for good governance," Salceda, said during the conference which drew environmentalists, local and foreign experts on climate change, and local officials.

"The declaration reflects the sentiments and aspirations of the participants," added Salceda, one of the major organizers, along with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Climate Change, The conference carried the theme "Moving Forward on Albay Declaration 2007."

Signatories to the declaration also urged schools nationwide to raise public awareness of climate risks by adopting the Lesson Plan on Climate Change, which had been integrated into the curriculum in Albay's elementary and high school levels.

They also appealed to Pres. Arroyo to mobilize financial support to build capacity for the local government units (LGUs) to address climate change as well as back policies and measures that promote sustainable development.

Enactment of the Disaster Reduction Management Bill has been considered by participants of the conference, as the vehicle that would strengthen the country's DRR strategies and programs.

LGUs, the document stressed, should mainstream DDR-CCA programs in their development efforts through training in the planning and decision-making processes and assistance in the use of Rapid Earthquake Damage Assessment System, Software and other multi-hazard assessment tools of the Department of Science and Technology, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology and the United Nations Development Programme.

The government, it proposed, must encourage cooperation among concerned agencies, international development bodies, business groups, non-governmental organizations, academe, religious and media to work together with the newly created Climate Change Commission for a concerted effort on DDR an CCA.

The paper also asked the Palace to request the Asia and Pacific regional office of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN ISDR), in collaboration with the ISDR Asian Partners to report and showcase these local government initiatives in the UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark and the 4th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2010. (PNA Bicol/PIA) [top]

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