Prioritize climate change and disaster-mitigation projects in 2016 infra budget

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. today urged the administration to prioritize projects that mitigate the effects of climate change in its 2016 infrastructure budget in order to lessen damage to lives and property during natural disasters.

Sen. Bongbong, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Works, said that the government must seek funding for flood-control structures as well as disaster-resistant classrooms and multi-purpose building that could serve as safe evacuation centers during typhoons or floods.

The effects of climate change cannot be ignored anymore. We are now experiencing heavy rains and severe flooding in various areas of the country, yet in some provinces, the lands are parched because of drought,” Sen. Bongbong said.

The Senator cited data from the Office of Civil Defense in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao which placed the number of people affected at 19,032 families or 95,160 individuals in the floods that struck 81 barangays of the towns of Ampatuan, Datu Salibo, Sultan Sa Barongis, Rajah Buayan, Datu Abdullah Sangki, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Buluan, Mangudadatu, Pandag, Mamasapano, Paglat, Northern Kabuntalan and Datu Paglas.

Over 8,000 students were affected with the school shutdowns while P6.6 million worth of crops in 859 hectares have been destroyed.

“While we cannot build structures to totally withstand nature’s fury, we can do something to lessen its impact,” Sen. Bongbong said.

The senator noted that many of the fatalities of super-typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban City died in classrooms and other buildings used as evacuation areas that either collapsed due to strong winds or were submerged during a storm surge.

“In its briefer on the 2016 budget of around P3 trillion, the Department of Budget and Management included disaster risk management among the priority areas. I would like to see if the identified priorities would indeed help lessen the impact of natural disasters on our people,” Sen. Bongbong said.

As a pro-environment advocate, Sen. Bongbong has filed Senate Bill No. 410 or the proposed “Philippine Green Building Act” as the country’s contribution to global efforts at mitigating the effects of climate change.

During the hearings on the bill, Sen. Bongbong also said the government should learn from the typhoon Yolanda experience and build structures that could withstand stronger winds and provide a safe haven for evacuees when floods occur.

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