MANILA, Philippines — According to the 2019 Global Climate Risk Index, the Philippines ranked number five among countries in the world with the highest weather-related losses amounting to $2.932 billion dollars.
Following the eruption of Taal Volcano last January 12, Senator Francis Tolentino said he aims to empower local government units in preparing for and responding to natural disasters by facilitating a more detailed coordination framework between LGUs, which includes holding joint calamity drills, among others.
“The State must exert all efforts to address against calamities, both natural and man-made, to save not only lives of the citizens in disaster-stricken areas but that of the future generations,” Tolentino said.
“The current framework does not cover a comprehensive action plan for LGUs with regard to evacuation and post-recovery operations, which should be at the heart of the country’s disaster response policy,” said Tolentino, who recently filed Senate Bill No. 1272 that seeks to expand the country’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Framework.
The bill aims to create an inter-local government unit response mechanism, which includes the identification and creation of permanent evacuation centers, safe refuge zones, evacuation routes and assembly points. It also seeks to provide for evacuation transport and accommodation of persons and animals.
“Being the first responder, our LGUs must be fully equipped not just with proper training, but also a comprehensive plan that they will use in case of emergency cases like the sudden eruption of Taal Volcano which caught everyone by surprised,” the senator reiterated.
The bill also grants LGUs with the power to occupy or use private or commercial buildings as evacuation centers or safe zones, subject to compensation by the LGU or the national government in case of the former’s inability to pay. (STACY ANG/IAMIGO/Currentph.com)