A DESTRUCTIVE natural disaster, like a typhoon, earthquake or flooding, is a potent factor that can derail much of what has been attained to speed up the country’s socio-economic development.
In a country often visited by natural calamities, efforts to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the people ought to be focused on disaster prevention, preparation, response and rehabilitation.
Thus, we commend the top leadership of the House of Representatives for sending an 18-member delegation to Tokyo to gain better understanding of Japan’s experience on disaster management.
The House leadership is headed by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, a former senator, and Majority Leader Martin G. Romualdez of Taguig City and Leyte, respectively.
In the view of various sectors, particularly the poor and ordinary citizens in flood-prone communities throughout the Philippines, disaster management is an issue of urgency and importance.
The delegation was sent to the so-called “Land of the Rising Sun” as Congress prepares to sharpen its budgetary and legislative initiatives, and considers the best model for disaster resilience.
Members of the House delegation, headed by Majority Leader Romualdez, met with Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose C. Laurel V, a former governor of Batangas.
Ambassador Laurel has a wealth of knowledge on disaster risk reduction, sharing his experience in dealing with the aftermath of a Taal Volcano eruption when he was governor of the province.
Romualdez, a lawyer and president of the Philippine Constitution Association, also visited the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture.
Note that the institute is a partner of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in conducting research on science and technology for integrated disaster risk reduction.
In fact, Japanese volcanologists working with Phivolcs paid a glowing tribute to the latter for doing what they described as a “very, very good job in its monitoring and research efforts.”
Admittedly, the Filipino solons’ visit to Japan would benefit Congress on how it can best support disaster risk reduction in this impoverished Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 million people.