Naga City may be the next Tacloban City in terms of vulnerability to the havoc wreaked by climate change, a new study on urban business prospects under climate change found.
To help Pinoy cities prepare for climate impacts, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) and the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Foundation have launched the latest version of “Business Risk Assessment and the Management of Climate Impacts,” a multi-year study which examined economic and climate trends to predict and prepare for likely future scenarios. “Baseline data findings are synergized with local stakeholder inputs to craft each city’s adaptation strategy,” explains Florendo Maranan, BPI Foundation executive director and SVP.
Climate exposure, socioeconomic sensitivities and adaptive capacities are melded to generate scores which show each city’s climate vulnerability. A chronic recommendation is to “climate-proof” local infrastructure—moving coastal roads and communities to high ground, improving community drainage systems and investing in natural solutions like mangrove forests to parry inbound storms.
Launched in 2011, the study’s first phase covered the cities of Baguio, Cebu, Davao and Iloilo. Its second phase assessed Cagayan de Oro, Dagupan, Laoag and Zamboanga. For 2013, the cities of Angeles, Batangas, Naga and Tacloban were evaluated. Four more cities will be assessed for 2014.
On January 30, WWF-Philippines and the BPI returned to present the final results of its study to a packed room of 60 Naguenos, led by Mayor John Bongat of Naga City.
“Naga is highly vulnerable to flooding as it is flanked by the cloud-covered Mount Isarog, plus the Bicol river basin. To keep the city humming, effective drainage systems and alternative road and rail routes should be created, while ensuring that the national highway that connects it with other regions experiences zero downtime,” explained Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, WWF-Philippines vice chairman and chief executive officer. With a score of 6.10, Naga emerged as the second most vulnerable of the four assessed cities for 2013, right after Tacloban.
The least vulnerable with a score of 5.56, Angeles City is situated inland, far from the sea. Initially a small barrio, Angeles became a rest-and-recreation center when the Americans converted Fort Stotsenberg into Clark Air Base. After the American pullout in 1991, Angeles reinvented itself as an airline hub and Freeport zone. Like Batangas, it is connected to Manila and nearby provinces via two roads—the North Luzon Expressway and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.