SENATOR Grace Poe cited the importance of the ‘Build Back Better’ principle in making Bicol region more resilient to calamities while also rebuilding from the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bicol region is vulnerable to disasters. When Typhoon Rolly devastated the region, it caused P12.26 billion damage to infrastructures and P3.58 billion damage to agriculture.
Senator Poe’s Panday Bayanihan responded by conducting relief operations in Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Sorsogon and Catanduanes.
“While providing immediate assistance to the victims of calamities is the right thing to do, making communities resilient to calamities is far more logical and better way of protecting lives and livelihood,” said Poe.
The ‘build back better’ principle seeks means that the process of rebuilding communities affected by disasters should make them stronger than before. This is one of the major concepts enshrined in Senate Bill 124 authored by Senator Poe which, if it becomes a law, will create the Department of Disaster Resilience and Emergency Management.
Poe said provinces vulnerable to calamities should invest more in resiliency – infrastructures, livelihood and agriculture.
Roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, health centers, government housing project and tourism-related infrastructures should be constructed or retrofitted to withstand the strongest possible typhoon.
The senator also supports the distribution of climate-resilient rice varieties, insurance coverage for crops and fisheries, and construction of climate-resilient small-scale irrigarion systems in Bicol.
Poe explained that even though these interventions focus on long-term plans, it will immediately create jobs, provide food, and stimulate economic activity in the region which had been slowed down by COVID 19 pandemic.
Bicol’s resilient crops and fisheries production will also ensure steady supply of food to Luzon. Bicol region accounted for 10 percent of rice production and 14 percent of fisheries production in Luzon.
Transforming Bicol into a resilient region would provide a clear path to development and address excessive centralization of growth in Metro Manila and the adjacent provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.