MANILA, Philippines—Senators on Tuesday called on the government to strengthen the implementation of disaster risk insurance systems, particularly coverage for the livelihood of poor Filipinos who live in known hazard areas.
Senate President Franklin Drilon called for a stricter compliance with the policy that losses arising from disasters in the agriculture sector be adequately covered by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC), and for all government structures to be covered by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
“I doubt very much whether that is being fully implemented. We go back to the basics,” Drilon said following a forum on disaster risk insurance on Tuesday that Sen. Loren Legarda had organized with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.
“We must strengthen our disaster risk management by complying with the GSIS law requiring all public buildings to be insured and augment and strengthen our PCIC by providing enough funds so that it can respond to the losses in our agriculture sector because our farmers are those that suffer the most whenever there is a disaster,” Drilon told reporters.
He said that only 10 percent of the agriculture sector is insured with the PCIC at present.
“I will ask the committee on agriculture to look into why disaster risk coverage is inadequate as far as the agriculture sector is concerned, notwithstanding the fact that we have the PCIC,” Drilon said.
Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on climate change, underlined the relationship between disasters and poverty at the forum which focused on strengthening disaster risk insurance.
“Poverty breeds disaster vulnerability, where those who have least in life risk life most. Thus, as disasters become more prevalent, the higher is the right of the poor to social protection, and the higher is the duty of government to reduce disaster risk in pursuit of resilient development. Disaster risk reduction is social justice in action,” Legarda told the forum.
Linked to development
“Disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation must be closely linked to development—the kind of development that does not create new risks and promotes resilient investments,” she added.
Legarda said the national and local governments as well as the private sector should make good use of the lessons learned from past disasters by building better, complying with resiliency benchmarks and ensuring that the risks and vulnerabilities that existed before each natural hazard are not restored.
The senator said that DRR strategies should include measures not just to prevent loss of lives “but also to protect the things that would sustain life, such as the sources of livelihood and employment, which is why disaster risk financing and insurance are vital components of disaster risk management strategies.”