2009 (STAR) By Perseus Echeminada - President Arroyo will be the keynote speaker in the two-day National Conference on Climate Change Adaptation (NCCCA) +2 to be held at the Diamond Hotel starting Monday.

The NCCCA will make an inventory of best practices for climate change adaptation in the country and form a consensus on the Philippine Strategic Framework on Climate Change Adaptation.

This will be the second round of talks on the potential impact of climate change in the country, and a new opportunity to discuss new policies and adaptation measures. The first NCCCA was held in October 2007 in Albay.

Albay governor Joey Salceda, lead convenor of the conference, said Albay and other local government units which have already installed adaptation and mitigation mechanisms for climate change will be presented as models during the conference.

“The conference brought to the public consciousness urgent concern about climate change, its impact and adaptation measures,” he said.

Albay, he said, had no casualties from typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” because it has permanent evacuation centers.

“We have evacuation centers in place and officials at the grassroots level are prepared to move residents to safety,” he said.

Salceda, who is also the economic adviser of the President, said climate change adaptation would help Filipinos cope with the increasing frequency and ferocity of typhoons.

“We have shown through Albay’s example that we can cope with natural calamities. People just need to know how to minimize, if not totally avoid, damage to lives and properties,” he said.

President should take up climate change in summit

Agusan del Sur Representative Rodolfo Plaza is urging the government to take up the issue of climate change with other member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the ongoing the 15th ASEAN Summit in Thailand.

Plaza, who is included in the senatorial slate of former President Joseph Estrada, said issues that should be raised are disaster risk reduction, stockpiling of emergency supplies, search and rescue operations, early warning systems, advanced technology in weather forecasting, and automatic mutual assistance in times of disaster.

“ The UN (United Nations) has committed early this month to deepen cooperation with ASEAN in the area of disaster management and emergency response. So the President should be aggressive and push for them in the ASEAN,” he said.

He also urged the government to release to the public the 2004 report of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that predicted Metro Manila will be divided into four sections once a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hits the capital.

“I wonder why a report as important as this is allowed to gather dust when it is the Philippine government itself that sought the government of Japan for this undertaking,” he said.

He also said he hoped the report is not being kept under wraps because the government is protecting real estate prices in the National Capital Region.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) has warned that 30 percent of medium-rise buildings and 38 to 40 percent of residential structures may be adversely affected if a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hits Metro Manila.

It said, however, that the probability of a strong earthquake happening in the country is “close to zero” because there is no fault activity at present.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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