UNISDR champion Legarda seeks to reduce flood damage in Philippines

 
By Denis McClean

GENEVA, 7 June 2012 - The Philippines Pampanga River Basin which floods once a year and provides 90% of the domestic water supply to the capital Manila, is the focus of a meeting convened today by UNISDR Champion, Senator Loren Legarda, to assist local government units in risk reduction.

"We will be discussing harmonizing initiatives towards disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in local governance, moving forward together as allied government units, and outlining a strategy for areas surrounding the river basin," Senator Legarda explained.

Senator Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, has partnered with the Local Government Academy under the Department of Interior and Local Government and Agencia Espanola de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID) to organize this initiative.

The workshop aims to assist local government units (LGUs) in developing effective disaster risk reduction and management strategies for the Pampanga River Basin composed of three river systems, namely the Pampanga, Angat, and Pasac River Systems. It covers an aggregate area of 10,540 km2 and experiences maximum rainfall depth during the latter half of the year.

LGUs, non-government organizations, academe, youth, media, the private sector and other stakeholders from Central Luzon will participate in the whole-day event which will cover three modules.

Senator Legarda said: "It is imperative that we hold these kinds of workshops because the Pampanga River Basin, the fourth largest in the country, is central to many lives and industries. It serves as an irrigation source for one of the country's largest food baskets and a surface water source for about 90% of the domestic water use in Metro Manila and its outskirts. It is also a haven of biodiversity.

"But its geographical profile gives rise to many risks. These include flooding, severe water pollution, water-related diseases such as dengue, typhoid fever, and malaria, droughts, and even earthquakes. The basin experiences at least one flooding annually."

"Damages in the area will mean devastating losses to all Filipinos. The glimmer of hope lies in the fact that we can prevent these losses. We are confident that our distinguished roster of speakers will inspire all our participants, especially the leaders of our local government units, to become a solid force in safeguarding our communities against these environmental risks," Legarda said.

Resource persons for the workshop include Secretary Lucille Sering of the Climate Change Commission; Undersecretary Austere Panadero of the Climate Change Adaptation-Disaster Risk Reduction Management (CCA-DRRM) Intervention Framework of the DILG; Undersecretary Analiza Teh of the DENR, Director Marivel Sacendoncillo of the LGA-DILG; Mayor Oscar Rodriguez, Chair of the Regional Development Council of Region III; Mr. Silverio Tandog, Project Manager of the Allah Valley Alliance; Mr. Edgardo Tongson, Leader for Water and Watershed Management Work of the World Wildlife Fund; and Marivel Sacendoncillo, Executive Director of the Local Government Academy.
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