August 12, 2009
Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Chairman and Senator Richard Gordon (Ind.) emphasized that government spending on disaster prevention and preparedness measures would significantly curb the billions of pesos spent for relief and rehabilitation.
Gordon cited as an example the neglected repair works on a dike worth a few million in Botolan, Zambales could have prevented the massive flooding and the damage done will now cost an estimated P200 million to repair.
“Without disaster prevention and preparedness, we will forever be pouring money into a bottomless pit and the cycle of disaster and poverty will continue. We must fast track all measures that will enable us to avoid having to provide relief and spend on rehabilitation,” said Gordon.
The senator pointed out that Typhoon Kiko has wrought damage to infrastructure worth an estimated P40,424,700 and the damage to agriculture was pegged at P1,585,000 in the provinces of Benguet, Tarlac and, Zambales.. Moreover, the typhoon affected a total of 18,618 families or 92,211 persons from 118 barangays in 11 provinces in Regions 1, 2, 3, 6, 11.
To end the yearly cycle of disaster and poverty, Gordon filed Senate Bill 145 which seeks to provide the measures for the government to carry out its responsibilities to alleviate the sufferings of its people, which result from such disasters.
The bill intends to allow the government to promote general welfare by formulating comprehensive plans and practicable programs for preparations against disasters, including hazard reduction, avoidance and mitigation.
“It also intends to instill a culture of disaster preparedness among our people through the utilization of disaster preparedness and mitigation measures, the establishment of a warning system, and the provision for emergency operations during disasters,” he added.
Gordon also pointed the need to collaborate with the Philippine National Red Cross and the local disaster coordinating councils to train local field disaster response teams and coordinating with international organizations to share international know-how, expertise, and technology, among others.