TG bats for disaster management plan

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III batted for the crafting of a comprehensive disaster management plan for Mindanao, noting that what happens in one place in the island affects other places.

It is now time to have a Mindanao island-wide disaster management plan. Disasters and calamities such as typhoons and storms no longer spare Mindanao. What happened in one place also affect others,” he said at the sideline of the Mindanao Disaster Risk Reduction Summit, which opened Saturday morning.

Guingona, who calls the province of Bukidnon home, said that the environment in Mindanao is interconnected and as such, one city’s or province’s disaster management plan should be related to the plan of its neighbors.

“It is no longer acceptable that a city or province has a disaster management plan that is not connected or related to its neighbors. Mindanao now needs a comprehensive plan for disaster,” he stressed.

He said that the devastation wrought by tropical storm Washi (Sendong) to the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan on December 17 was just the natural outcome of several happenings in the provinces of Bukidnon and the two Lanaos and in the affected cities themselves.

“If the Pulangi River in Bukidnon overflows its banks, Cotabato City is flooded. If the river in San Fernando, Bukidnon grows, the excess goes to Davao City,” he said.

In his remarks during the Summit’s opening, Guingona pointed out the need for a “template for an effective post-disaster needs assessment that have been crafted based on past disaster-related experiences.”

He said this template should be “community-based, people-centered” and employ “equitable approaches.”

Attitude change is needed in order to avoid future disasters.

“It would be useless if we stop at merely talking about Climate Change. There is another important agenda. And that agenda is called Attitude Change,” Guingona said.

“Nagbabago na ang panahon. Nagbabago na ang klima. Kailangang magbago din ang ating pag-iisip at pananaw sa mundo at sa buhay (Times has changed. The climate has changed. It is important that we also change our minds and how we view the world and life),” he added.

And as a show of this change of attitude, Guingona urged Mindanawons to unite “in the face of the new challenges confronting the Mindanao community.”

“Given the new challenges we face, are the people of Mindanao, more than  ever, ready to give up their differences so that can unite behind the rebuilding process? Set aside political differences, religious differences, ethnic and language differences, and ideological differences? Can we honestly tell ourselves that these differences may have now become less significant in the face of the huge tasks ahead of us? And that we must now join hands for a mission bigger than all of our parochial concerns? Times have changed. The Climate has changed. Shall our attitudes, viewpoints, hearts and minds adapt to the change?” he asked. Bong D. Fabe

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