Gordon bats for ‘green infrastructure’ to weather destructive typhoons
Re-electionist Senator Richard J. Gordon has underscored the importance of respecting the environment as Mother Nature continues to unleash more destructive storms pounding the Philippines every year. Citing his experience as the chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, Gordon said the country must lean towards “green” infrastructures that are considerate of the environment, resilient towards the weather, and provide less carbon footprint to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.
“Dapat lagyan ng intersector canals para hindi biglang bagsak ang tubig katulad ng nangyari sa Cagayan de Oro, biglang nakaroon ng log jam, nagkaroon ng clogging sa taas, sumabog yung mga kahoy, bumagsak yung tubig, maraming nalunod maraming namatay. Ganun din sa Ondoy,” he said, recalling the devastation brought by Typhoons Sendong and Ondoy.
“So tayo, andami-dami nating population, dapat talaga ‘yung mga drainage natin na hinaharangan ng mga illegal settlers, ‘yung mga mayayaman nilalagyan ng dam, ‘yung mga dike natin, mga fishponds natin sa Central Luzon hinaharangan ‘yan at nababara tuloy ang tubig, mas malaki ang damage,” he added.
Powerful storms have continued to dampen the country’s recovery effort from the ongoing pandemic, as Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai) unleashed a devastating blow to numerous provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.
According to the latest report by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Odette has killed at least 389 people, injured 1,146, and has left 64 others missing. It has also affected over 4.2 million people, displacing 570,906 houses as it made landfall nine times.
Estimates show that the most powerful storm to hit this year caused an estimated PhP 5.3 billion worth of damages to agriculture, and an additional PhP16.7 billion to infrastructure.
Gordon, a veteran lawmaker, called on the government to enforce Republic Act (RA) 3701 or the law that prohibits illegal logging, citing the wanton destruction of forests as a major factor in increased flooding.
“Kailangan natin talaga is to respect the environment. ‘Yung climate change is upon us. Kailangan talaga ay habulin natin ang mga punong naputol, at dapat madaling sabihin na magtanim pero hindi naalagaan,” he pointed out.
He added that the country’s education system must instill love for the environment at a young age, so that the country’s next generation may foster preservation of their surroundings, in turn saving thousands of lives.
As a prolific lawmaker, Gordon authored and sponsored RA 10121, or the Philippine Disaster Risk Management Act, which promotes the development of capacities in disaster management, including measures to preserve the environment.
Spearheading the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), the country’s largest humanitarian organization, Gordon has built over 151,000 houses for victims of typhoons and other calamities.