MANILA -- Senator Loren Legarda lauded a municipality in Cebu's Camotes islands Wednesday for winning the 2011 United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction, an award given to innovative environmental projects.

“This achievement of San Francisco town brings great pride to the Philippines as it conveys that local governments successfully take the lead in building the resilience of communities against disasters and climate change,” Legarda said.

The UN recognized its purok system, a home-grown disaster-risk reduction that makes communities responsible for identifying areas at risk from environmental disasters like threats and landslides.

Each purok was also tasked with keeping their neighborhoods and tourist spots in their area clean.

To encourage participation in the program, the municipal government put up a prize of P20,000 for the best purok.

“Disaster resilience is everybody’s business and it is essential that everyone in the community takes part in this effort. Elected leaders have a moral obligation to the people. We have the duty to take bold steps and empower our people to participate in addressing our communities’ concerns,” Legarda said.

The senator is UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN-ISDR) Regional and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific representative.

She has been campaigning for Philippine towns and cities to take the initiative in making sure they can survive natural disasters. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)