As world leaders meet in Paris to tackle climate change, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday said the Philippines should step up preparations against natural disasters brought about by changing weather patterns.
“No matter what agreement will be reached in the Paris summit, we can no longer ignore the reality that we will be facing stronger typhoons, massive flooding, landslides and other natural disasters as a result of climate change. The prudent thing to do now is step up our preparedness,” Marcos added.
“We have to take a pro-active approach. We are saying, ito na ngayon ang mangyayari, unahan na natin [this is what is going to happen, let’s get ahead of it],” he said.
The 21st United Nations Conference of the Parties, or COP21, which began in Paris also on Monday, aims to unite some 150 nations for a single agreement tackling climate change by capping the rate of global warming at 2 degrees Celsius–compared to the current 2.5 to 3.76 degrees Celsius.
Among others, Marcos urged local governments to adopt a pre-emptive evacuation system in disaster-prone areas at the onset of typhoons and heavy rains while the national government should build and clearly identify disaster-resilient evacuation centers.
The senator said the government should also speed up implementation of the law on the modernization of Pagasa (Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) and continue to tap the capability of the military in rescue and relief operations owing to its expertise in logistics in the distribution of relief goods and materials to disaster-stricken areas.
“We have a lot to do in terms of being able to provide the relief goods. I think the single most important lesson that we have to continue to remind ourselves is, politics has no place in calamity areas. Buhay na ng tao ito. Ibang usapan ito [Peope’s lives are at stake here. This is a different ballgame altogether],” Marcos added.
He advised Filipinos to learn from lessons of Yolanda, a super typhoon that devastated the country in 2013, particularly Tacloban City in Leyte, in improving their capability to mitigate effects of disasters brought about by climate change.
“We know what those lessons are, the challenge is how to implement them,” Marcos said.