A Cebu town official, who is one of the United Nation’s champions on disaster risk reduction, said local officials shouldn’t wait for a calamity like the massive flooding that left half of Metro Manila underwater this week.
“Think big. Start small,” said Vice Mayor Alfredo Arquillano of San Francisco, Camotes island.
“Disaster risk reduction is an investment. Response and reconstruction are expenses,” said Arquillano, who just returned from Indonesia where he spoke on the topic.
Keeping the environment clean is an important flood prevention measure, he told reporters.
Proper solid waste management and effective drainage infrastructure are “simple programs to prevent flood.”
“It’s about protecting lives and property. Climate change is real. It is happening,” he said.
Arquillano said “investments” in an integrated drainage system and solid waste management were needed for a growing metropolis like Cebu.
“Cities are drivers of development, but at the same time also drivers of risk. The Mega Cebu project is a good initiative to start these things,” Arquillano said.
He was referring to an initiative for 13 cities and municipalities in Metro Cebu to have a coordinated approach to planning growth and executing projects beyond boundaries of a single local government.
Arquillano is one of the global champions of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.
“LGUs should take the lead. The disaster in Manila serves as the call that we should act now,” he said.
He warned that in Cebu, “there are many disasters waiting to happen.”
Public awareness reduces the risk, he said.
LGUs should plan ahead and put up early warning systems.
San Francisco town in Camotes Island in north Cebu won the prestigious UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2011.
The town relied on small villages or the purok to strengthen good governance.
The“Purok Capital Build Up” for disaster response and a solid waste management system has been acknowledged as one of the best global practices. /Rhea Ruth V. Rosell, Reporter