18 July, Incheon: Sixteen Parliamentarians from the Philippine House of Representatives yesterday adopted "the Incheon Resolution of the Philippine Parliamentarians on Effective Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation" which calls for the mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the national budget legislation.
The law makers participated in the Legislative Workshop on Effective Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in the Philippines, organized by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction with both the lower and upper houses of the Philippine Congress, from 14-17 July 2011, in Incheon, Republic of Korea.
Noting that disaster risk and climate change are developmental issues and threats to the Philippines’ achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, the Parliamentarians called for the immediate convening of the Philippine Climate Change Commission, and the immediate implementation of priority programmes and activities for risk reduction by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
"We cannot achieve development sustainability without seriously investing, both financially and politically, in disaster risk reduction. It should be at the core of socio-economic development on different levels" said Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento, one of the co-organizers of the workshop. Sarmiento also urged for comprehensive global policies and programmes to reduce inevitable risks during disasters
The Philippines adopted the Climate Change Act of 2009 and the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, both of which are considered model legislations in the Asia Pacific region.
“The Philippines has very good laws such as the Climate Change Act of 2009 and the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, however, it is equally important to translate these laws into action, and we use our oversight function to support this process,” added Sarmiento.
“The administration should demonstrate leadership on this issue that affects food security, livelihood, public health and economic development goals, lest our strategies and action plans be washed away by swelling floods”, urged Senator Loren Legarda, UNISDR Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia and the Pacific as well as Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change. “The executive department must integrate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in its development plans and investments”, she stressed.
Welcoming the resolution, the United Nations Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström said, “This is indeed a very strategic move by the Philippines. It demonstrates practical foresight and represents a realization that a national development framework that fully integrates disaster risk as well as climate risk impacts on development goals means money spent wisely on prevention and risk reduction. This is an astute investment and more cost effective than responding to the rapidly increasing costs demanded by emergencies after what could well have been an avoidable disaster.”
The Incheon Resolution was signed by Congresspersons Imelda Calixto Rubiano, Ben Evardone, Alfredo Garbin, Lucy Marie Torres Gomez, Roger Gaviola Mercado, Rene Relampagos, Cesar Sarmiento, Mel Senen Sarmiento, Maria Carmen Apsay, Jocelyn V. Bernos, Danilo Fernandez, Rodolfo Biazon, Jose Carlos Cari, Rodante Marcoleta, Ana Cristina Go, and Jesus Sacdalan.