In observance of the National Disaster Consciousness Month (July), Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call to heighten disaster preparedness especially in local communities.
Legarda, UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience, said that proactive strategies and the involvement of citizens are needed in strengthening the country's defenses against natural hazards and climate change.
"Most natural hazards turn into disasters because of the lack of preparedness. Preparation is the name of the game. It is a must that citizens understand how they can contribute to making our communities disaster-resilient and urge them to actually take part in such activities," she said.
"Disaster prevention starts long before a typhoon makes landfall, before an earthquake happens or before a volcano erupts. Early warning and early action should be at the very heart of our efforts. Everyone should understand the risks we face and equip ourselves with preventive measures to lessen the impact of natural hazards," she stressed.
In line with this, the Senator said that local government officials are in the best position to lead and engage those in their respective cities, municipalities, and provinces to establish and strengthen disaster preparedness measures.
Community preparations for disasters include regular pruning of trees, dredging of canals and esteros, and the practice of segregating garbage, among many others. She also called on communities to heed disaster warnings to prevent disasters.
For early warning systems, Legarda said that barangays can use whistles and come up with a code or system so that people would know what to do depending on the length and frequency of each whistle blow.
When hazards such as typhoons are expected, barangay officials and volunteers can do mobile patrolling and use sirens to immediately alert people either to stay indoors or get ready to move to safer places. The regular conduct of earthquake and safety drills is also important especially in schools and hospitals.
Local government units (LGUs) should also involve citizens in restoring coastal mangrove forests and continuous tree-growing activities, which are simple yet effective defenses against several types of hazards.
"Our LGUs' role is important in building resilient communities. They should plan well and invest public resources wisely with reducing disaster risk as a goal; promote a culture of safety and resilience engaging all stakeholders and sectors; raise awareness on disaster and climate risk at community and family level; and improve local early warning and community preparedness systems. Disaster risk reduction and preparedness should be a way of life," Legarda concluded.
July is National Disaster Consciousness Month. The theme for this year's observance is, "Kamalayan sa Kahandaan, Katumbas ay Kaligtasan."
Source: Senate of the Philippines