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PIA Press Release
2008/11/13

Legarda calls on colleagues for swift action vs climate change and natural disasters

Manila (13 November) -- "We need to do this not only for ourselves but for all the generations to come."

Senator Legarda on Monday afternoon urged her colleagues in the Senate floor to act with urgency in "finding quick, coherent, comprehensive and coordinated responses" to climate change, food crisis, and natural disasters.

Legarda, in a privilege speech, bewailed the "piecemeal, reactionary, and often incoherent and insufficient responses and strategies" by the government following natural disasters. "It is time to disaster-proof and climate change-proof our people, livelihoods, and national growth," she said.

"The Philippines has incurred enormous losses brought about by various calamities such as earthquakes, typhoons, and droughts," Legarda added in the speech.

Legarda further called for defending the sectors most severely affected by natural disasters and climate change. "What is immensely disturbing and in fact unpardonable however, is that every time a disaster strikes, the already vulnerable segments of society, such as the poor, the women, and the children are the most severely affected and rendered even more helpless."

But Legarda pointed out that all is not lost in the battle against climate change and natural disasters. She cited fresh efforts and triumphs by the Philippines in "moving the international community to reexamine the climate change agenda."

In October, Legarda participated in four high-level international events including the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York which she addressed twice. In these events, Legarda brought forth into world attention global issues that severely affect developing countries such as the Philippines.

Legarda convened, with the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), a Roundtable Consultative Meeting with Parliamentarians in Manila last October 17-18. The final output of the meeting is the " Manila Call for Action" which called on governments to advance disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation at national and international levels.

After the meeting, Legarda reported the outcome of the said meeting before the Global Congress of Women in Politics and Governance (CAPWIP) which was subsequently held in Manila.

Then Legarda flew to New York in order to urge ministers in the United Nations General Assembly to refocus attention on "climate-related natural disasters" amidst hype on the global financial crisis. Top world ministers and policymakers from 190 nations gathered at the UN Headquarters in New York City for the Plenary Session of the Economic and Financial Committee of the UN General Assembly.

A week after first addressing the UN, Senator Loren Legarda again delivered a statement in behalf of the Philippines in the same forum. In the statement, Legarda followed-up on the implementation of major UN conferences and summits concerning the global food crisis, climate change, and the gender gap.

In delivering the privilege speech, Legarda also followed-up on the Manila Call for Action under which the delegates to the Consultative Meeting of Parliamentarians are to report the outcome of the meeting to their respective Parliaments.

Legarda warned that much remains to be done despite the recent efforts and accomplishments by the Philippines concerning climate change and natural disasters. "I also come before you with a sense of urgency. The accomplishments I have just recounted are accompanied by a desperate call for immediate action." She urged her fellow senators to immediately act in order to avert natural disasters brought by climate change.

"Let not out grandchildren and great grandchildren say that we destroyed their future long before they were born," Legarda said. (Office of Sen. Legarda/PIA) [top]

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