Old, new challenges seen in addressing Lando’s impact
Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - October 20, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The government has to deal with old and new challenges in addressing the effects of Typhoon Lando, such as stubborn residents who refuse to cooperate with local authorities on preemptive evacuation, unpredictability of typhoon path and excessive amount of rainfall.

In a press briefing, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said departments and agencies were continuously educating the public on what must be done in times of disaster, as he pointed out that Lando brought intense rainfall that inundated many areas in its path.

Coloma said the structure of the disaster risk reduction and management organization gives the city or town mayor the authority to implement preemptive evacuation in coordination with barangay captains, who are the ones that deal with evacuation of families.

“This is what we are improving on. There are those who say we were not able to achieve zero casualty but when we look at the data, there are towns where there is (no) casualty until now,” Coloma said.

He stressed that lives were of utmost importance and the government was doing everything to avoid deaths every time disasters would strike.

Coloma said the Department of Science and Technology and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration had also been keeping up with the changing patterns of typhoons to be able to advise the public more promptly and effectively.

President Aquino was continuously monitoring the situation and had traveled to Cabanatuan City on Monday afternoon to check the actual condition of the people in the area after Nueva Ecija was inundated by floods.

Aquino admitted the government’s response to disasters was still a “work in progress” but that he was satisfied with what he saw so far.

With this development, Sen. Loren Legarda reiterated her commitment to push the approval of the proposed P3.002-trillion budget for next year, saying it has programs that are climate-adaptive, disaster-resilient, risk-sensitive and sustainable.

“We can no longer deny the fact that we are constantly faced with the threats of disasters caused by environmental degradation and natural hazards intensified by the warming climate,” said Legarda, chairman of the Senate committees on finance and on climate change.

Legarda noted how disasters become major economic setbacks “if we fail to address our vulnerability and reduce the risks,” as she cited a statement of the National Economic and Development Authority which manifested that sustainable development cannot be achieved “if we do not address climate change and its impacts.”

“We need billions to rehabilitate damaged communities. These are resources that we could have used instead for education or health care. We say that Congress has the power of the purse and we will use that power to make our economy and communities resilient and sustainable,” she stressed. – With Christina Mendez, Louella Desiderio

ACIRC CABANATUAN CITY COLOMA DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AND THE PHILIPPINE ATMOSPHERIC GEOPHYSICAL AND ASTRONOMICAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION LEGARDA LOREN LEGARDA LOUELLA DESIDERIO NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY NUEVA ECIJA PRESIDENT AQUINO
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