Editorial: To adapt

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014


AGATON has weakened into a low pressure area that still lingers in Mindanao. Damages in agriculture and infrastructure in Northern Mindanao brought by the incessant rains for two weeks initially amount to P100 million.

The damages will surely go higher as the government gets more of the real picture of the wreck.

The teams of disaster risk reduction management councils in the various local government units must have been through hell overseeing such stressful situation. The residents who are seeking shelters because their houses are located in low-lying and landslide prone areas are also exhausted and stressed too.

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This is the fourth time the city ordered major evacuations since typhoon Pablo in 2012. Each time this happens, local government units exhaust a big chunk of their budget to provide food and other basic needs of the evacuees.

Now, we wonder if there could be better measures than just evacuation.

Definitely, this cannot go on for long. A long-term plan must start by now vis-à-vis the constant reactive measures implemented whenever inclement weather hits the country.

Long-term plans for disaster preparedness should be proactive.

LGUs must look into solutions fit to the needs of their areas. Putting up evacuation centers could be one but it should only be part of the entire long-term plans. Preparing people whenever disaster strikes is another but relocating them from danger zones is one major move that could help attain zero-casualty during disasters.

But rooting them out in those areas and prohibiting people to build structures require political will. Would the government leaders be ready for this?

Definitely, they cannot compromise the votes they’re going to lose if these people are removed without proper relocation where the residents can live close to their sources of income and schools.

The National Government, together with the LGUs, should hammer out long-term solutions together to create climate change measures that will mutually benefit the people, government and the environment.

With the changing climate, the option is to adapt.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 22, 2014.

Opinion

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