Naga City highly capable to manage risks and disaster response; mitigation ongoing – Bongat

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Naga City mayor John Bongat. Photo courtesy of CEPPIO
Naga City mayor John Bongat. Photo courtesy of CEPPIO

By Joey Natividad

CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region, 28March2016 (BicolToday.com) – City Mayor John Bongat admitted the City Government of Naga is fully aware of the City’s inclusion in the “world’s 10 most-prone to disaster cities”, but he emphasizes the City has embark on mitigation and measures for risk-reduction and has strengthen the capability of the people to overcome vulnerability and the effects of any disaster.

The Mayor said the city, owing to mitigation measures, has managed to bounce back after a calamity as compared to other Bicol cities.

“The downside to being a welcoming city for research is you unnecessarily attract international attention as well, and this can highlight the risks being faced by Naga City from natural disasters, primarily typhoons and flooding, due to its location. This, undoubtedly, was the basis for Maplecroft ranking, which had 8 Philippine cities out of 10 in the list,” Mayor Bongat admitted knowing about the Maplecroft list.

Verisk Maplecroft, a prestigious, international risk analysis firm which gives regular updates to policy- and decision-makers has recently included Naga City in Camarines Sur in the “listing of world’s 10 most disaster-prone cities.”

Maplecroft has just released its report, 5th annual Natural Hazards Risk Atlas.

Among the ten, 8 are Philippine cities, while the other 2 cities are foreign. (See related news link: Naga City included in world’s 10 most disaster-prone cities).

Naga City subjected to international risk research and study

“Over the last five years, we were the focus of CDIA study on flood management as a component of revitalizing Naga River, the WWF research on Business Risk Assessment and the Management of Climate Impacts, and the ADB study on risk-sensitive land use planning, to name a few,” Mayor Bongat said, informing online news BicolToday.com.

He continued: “It does not help that the Philippines is the most vulnerable country in the world in terms of natural disasters.” The report itself says that its analysis ‘considers the combined risk posed by tropical storms and cyclones, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, severe storms, extra-tropical cyclones, wildfires, storm surges, volcanoes, and landslides.’ ”

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNODRR), after two decades of study, has classified “the Philippines as the world’s 4th most disaster – prone country”. (See related news link: Philippines facing imminent disaster; world’s 4th most disaster-prone country – ex US vice president Gore)

According to the Mayor, while they accept lists like this with a grain of salt, the city government has always been mindful of the need to manage risks arising from these natural calamities.

City government mitigation projects

Aware of the risks Naga is facing, based on the findings by international agencies, the City Government has launched mitigation projects.

Bongat disclosed the City has been investing on new storm drainage lines, on the revetment of Naga River (with the help of Rep. Leni Robredo) and Sagop creek, and on social programs that increase the capability of the people, especially the low-income families, to overcome them.

The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMO), in partnership with national and local agencies, is also working to proactively respond to them, helped by the Naga CDRRMO that is on standby 24/7.

Bongat gave emphasis that whenever strong super typhoons happen to hit the city, as in the case of Typhoon Reming in 2006 and Typhoon Glenda in 2014, Naga is always the first Bicol city to bounce back.

Investors’ confidence

Bongat gave stress the City has secured the vote of confidence from domestic and international investors alike.

“In spite of the natural calamities associated with Bicol, IBM, Concentrix, Stellar and Sutherland are international BPOs that have located in the city, employing close to 5,000 staff. Following SM, Robinsons Land is also building its first mall in Bicol, together with Starmall and pretty soon Waltermart,” said the Mayor.

“To us, they are the votes (of confidence) that matter, together with the leadership mandate that Nagueños have time and again reposed on our management team,” he said. [BicolToday.com]

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