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[Press Release] PH economy at high risk from natural disasters -climaterealityproject.org

PH economy at high risk from natural disasters
Climate group calls for genuine sustainable development platform

Manila, Philippines – The emerging growing economy of the Philippines is at highest risk in falling out due to natural hazards according to the 2nd Natural Hazards Risk Atlas released by Maplecroft, a global risk research institution.

“Bangladesh, the Philippines, Myanmar, India and Viet Nam are among the ten countries with the greatest proportion of their economic output exposed to natural hazards. In addition, they also demonstrate poor capability to recover from a significant event exposing investments in those countries to risk of supply chain and market disruptions,” Maplecroft statement said.

“High exposure to natural hazards in these countries are compounded by a lack of resilience to combat the effects of a disaster should one emerge,” explains Maplecroft’s Head of Maps and Indices Helen Hodge. “Given the exposure of key financial and manufacturing centres, the occurrence of a major event would be very likely to have significant impacts on the total economic output of these countries, as well as foreign business.”

Maplecroft said that the “Philippines’ resilience to natural hazards has been tested over recent days, with severe floods affecting the northern island of Luzon, including the capital Manila. At the time of writing nearly 2.7 million people have been affected by the floods which have killed at least 66 people. Large sections of the Philippine economy are exposed to typhoons, volcanic activity, landslides, floods and storm surges; a fact reflected by the 274 recorded disasters over the last 20 years.”

An official statement from Malacanang Palace stated that “the Philippine economy grew by 5.9% in the second quarter of 2012, outpacing most of the economies in Asia. The gross domestic product growth for the second quarter was way above the Asean preliminary average growth rate of 4.7% and higher than the industry forecast of 5.4%.”

“The growing economy of the Philippines seems to be good news for everyone, however, if the whole country is exposed to natural hazards with development platforms which induce vulnerabilities of communities instead of promoting resiliency, definitely the economy which is meant to be pro-people will fall down,” said Rodne Galicha, Philippine District Manager of The Climate Reality Project (TCRP), a global movement based in Wasington, DC, with 5 million members and supporters worldwide.

“We see more coal-fired power plants planned to be opened; mountains, seas and agricultural lands being exploited for mining; land conversions giving way to large subdivisions and mono-culture plantations – all these, resulting to the depletion of natural resources and biodiversity, are hypocrisies yet to be addressed under the shadows of fake sustainability,” said Galicha.

TCRP Filipino Climate Leaders, joining climate alliance Aksyon Klima, are calling for a genuine development platform to promote disaster resilient communities in the country by adhering to the basic principles of sustainable development which the United Nations’ Brundtland Commission defines as meeting ‘the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.

“The Philippines has been respected worldwide for pioneering sustainable development in its policies such as the Philippine Strategy for Sustainable Development and Philippine Agenda 21 but we have seen a gradual deviation of economic plans from the very essence of the agenda despite new laws like the Climate Change Act, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act and the People’s Survival Fund,” said Miguel Magalang, climate leader, Executive Director of Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MACEC), and private sector representative to the Regional Development Council of MIMAROPA.

Magalang assessed that the deviation from the principles of Philippine Agenda 21 is the result of a lack of understanding of the real objectives of sustainability especially in the time of climate crisis.

“The path to development should not be governed by an economy which aggravates exposures and vulnerabilities to climate hazards and disasters – we should learn our lessons from the realities we have been experiencing – high level of precipitation, unpredictable intensities of storms, floods, landslides. Does our economic platform address all these?,” said Magalang.

The Climate Leaders also recommends that “disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation initiatives should not be standalone ones but should form integral part of an integrated and sustainable development framework. There is also a need to come up with a convergent institutional framework in the local governments that would push for the whole sustainable development platform. Local development councils from barangays to the regional level should be reoriented and reorganized as local sustainable development councils where all other councils, bodies and committees in the local governments are clustered under one umbrella. This will result in dovetailing of plans and savings in time resources because local chief executives will need only to preside in one meeting.”

“Together with Aksyon Klima, the Climate Leaders will continue to engage with the Climate Change Commission (CCC) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to further our quest for a genuine platform which will address the needs of the present Philippines without compromising the survival of the next generations in the spirit of environmental sustainability and climate justice,” Galicha concluded.

The Climate Reality Project is bringing the facts about the climate crisis into the mainstream and engaging the public in conversation about how to solve it. We help citizens around the world discover the truth and take meaningful steps to bring about change. Founded and chaired by Al Gore, Nobel Laureate and former Vice President of the United States, The Climate Reality Project has more than 5 million members and supporters worldwide. It is guided by one simple truth: The climate crisis is real and we know how to solve it.

For more information:
Rodne Galicha, kalikasan101@gmail.com (http://presenters.climaterealityproject.org/presenter/rodne-galicha_2079)
Miguel Magalang, marinduque.macec@yahoo.com (http://www.slideshare.net/pwyp/myke-magalang-pwyp-montreal-conference-2009)

Maplecroft: http://maplecroft.com/about/news/nha_2012.html
Philippine Economy: http://president.gov.ph/daang_matuwid/philippines-improves-by-10-places-in-global-competitive-index/
The Climate Reality Project: http://climaterealityproject.org

September 7/8, 2012

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