AFFECTED local government units (LGUs) were advised to wisely spend their disaster funds by focusing on disaster planning and risk management, even as Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara suggests this is a “more proactive and cost-effective” disaster response.
The senator stressed that “it is always better to be prepared than hope for the best and deal with the consequences after disaster strikes.”
Angara advised LGU officials they “should not hesitate to spend their calamity funds for disaster preparedness.”
In a news statement issued on Wednesday after strong earthquakes shook the country in two days with magnitudes 6.1 and 6.5 in Luzon and the Visayas, Angara acknowledged that while disasters can occur without warning, the “risks can be managed in order to reduce loss of lives, homes, infrastructures and economic activity.”
He added that disaster preparedness plays a vital role in saving lives and livelihood, “particularly when integrated into an overall disaster risk reduction approach.”
The senator suggests that in order to prevent casualties and damages during calamities, concerned LGUs could implement precautionary measures, including stricter enforcement of the Building Code and limiting developments in disaster-prone areas, while identifying potential sites for relocation and evacuation when disaster strikes.
According to Angara, these steps could “help lessen the impact of future disasters” even as he added: “it does not prevent earthquakes and extreme weather events, but it makes us more resilient to those impacts.
At the same time, he reminded LGUs to strictly comply with the provisions of the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 embodied in Republic Act 10121.
The law, he said, strengthened the country’s institutional capacity for disaster-risk reduction and management, as well as building resilience of local communities to disasters with local government units as first responders.
As provided in RA 10121, Angara adds that LGUS are required to set aside five percent of their revenue from regular sources as Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund to support disaster risk management activities.