Phivolcs: ‘Threats are real’

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Monday, December 16, 2013

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) stressed over the weekend that threats of bigger and more disastrous calamities “are real and should not be taken for granted.”

During the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (PamCham)’s “Disaster Management Forum: Understanding the Economic and Financial Impact of Natural and Man-made Disasters” at Max’s Restaurant in Villa Del Sol, Phivolcs Director Dr. Renato Solidum said that Super Typhoon Yolanda and the magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Bohol are now the new “norms” that both the government and the private sector should pay attention to and prepare for.

“The hazards, vulnerability and exposure of many areas in the country like Pampanga and Metro Manila, in particular, are very real and could happen anytime because of new fault lines and liquefaction,” he said.

Solidum said that preparations should be strengthened and reinforced to avert the threats of massive destruction in lives and properties.

“How do we prepare? It could be done through legislation of building and infrastructure laws, such that all construction must be within the prescribed standards. Both the public and private sectors should also take a second look at our disaster risk reduction and management program to address the concern for responses, and secure, like in Central Luzon, vital ports in Subic, Clark, the NLEx and SCTex which are vital ‘lifeline’ links,” he said.

Solidum emphasized that stakeholders must work together to avoid paralysis of government as experienced in Tacloban City, and to avert the possible loss of economic gains from lack of preparation versus the “real disaster threats” of earthquakes, typhoons and cyclones, flooding and tsunamis in coastal areas.

He also was one with PamCham -- which launched its “Decongest (Metro Manila) for Country’s Sake Advocacy -- in describing “decongestion” as a way to avoid economic collapse in the event disaster hits the Philippines’ business capital.

“We just have to look at other areas holding capacity as well their infrastructure and what we call lifelines and offsite facilities of establishments in Metro Manila,” Solidum added.

PamCham president Jim Jimenez agreed, and said that the threats must be given priority.

“Climate change and environmental degradation is certainly taking its toll on the country and we must it priority attention. The pertinent, information, issues and threats must be processed and their urgency acknowledged, for the consequent implementation of necessary actions to mitigate the detrimental effects to the economy. Sa madaling salita, risk management,” he said.

“It is our hope that our National Government and for us as well, to appreciate the judiciousness of spreading investments and development in the countryside like Pampanga in order to achieve complementation and supplementation of vital socio-economic support between the National Capitol Region and the rest of the country,” he added.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on December 16, 2013.

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