PROMDI presidential candidate Sen. Manny Pacquiao said on Tuesday that Congress should prioritize creating a super-agency that will not only manage the country’s disaster response and disaster resilience but also create long-term strategies addressing climate change.
This, he said, is better than just upgrading the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) into an executive department.
The senator pointed out that the super-powerful typhoons that hit Mindanao and Palawan in recent years are concrete indicators of a shifting climate pattern.
He said climate change caused by global warming has turned Mindanao into a “typhoon alley” from November to December.
“I grew up in Mindanao and we never really experienced strong typhoons. Biyaya para sa aming mga taga Mindanao ang tubig. Ngayon lang talaga namin nararansan ang mga ganitong kalalakas na mga bagyo,” Pacquiao observed.
“Dati madalas lang ang ulan sa amin pero natutuwa kami kasi nakapapag-ipon kami ng tubig para sa aming inumin. Kaya maganda ang magtanim sa Mindanao dahil maliban sa masustansiya ang aming mga lupa ay maganda pa ang klima. Ngayon lang talaga namin nararanasan ang mga ganitong mga bagyo.”
(Rain water was a blessing to us in Mindanao. It is only recently we experience these strong typhoons. In the old days, we were delighted to save water for us to drink. It was ideal to farm in Mindanao because our land was fertile and our climate was good. It is only recently we get repeatedly hit by such typhoons.)
Pacquiao also said the NDRRMC is only equipped to respond but not to create long-term disaster adaptation strategies, hence, the need to include climate change adaptation in the proposed DDR as part of its primary mandate.
Pacquiao said that it was in 2011 when Typhoon Sendong first exposed the vulnerability of Mindanao from powerful typhoons, pummeling Cagayan de Oro with unprecedented rains that killed at least 2,500 people.
A year later, Mindanao was again hit by Typhoon “Pablo” that slammed into Siquijor, Misamis Oriental, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, Compostela Valley, and Davao Oriental.
Pacquiao also blamed the country’s extreme vulnerability to strong typhoons and heavy monsoons on the unabated illegal logging and mining operations.
Various proposals are now pending in Congress to upgrade the NDRRMC to a full-time executive department including his Senate Bill 198 which seeks to create the Department of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management.