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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Bill creating PH ‘disaster map’ passes first reading in Congress

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A BILL mandating the issuing of a national disaster map of the Philippines has passed first reading at the House of Representatives.

House Bill No. 7278 or the National Hazard Mapping Act directs several departments to work together in creating a national disaster map that would help prevent the loss of lives and property during calamities.

Quezon City Rep. Arjo Atayde

According to the bill’s principal author, Quezon City First District Rep. Juan Carlos “Arjo” Atayde, having a disaster map is beneficial for a more effective and anticipatory approach to natural disasters.

“No one can predict or prevent natural disasters, but we can most certainly prepare our countrymen for them,” said Atayde.

The House Committee on Climate Change, chaired by Bohol First District Rep. Edgar Chatto, unanimously approved HB 7278 last Tuesday.

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Under Section 3 of the bill, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority and together with the Department of Science and Technology, Climate Change Commission, and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council “will be directed to provide and issue a national disaster map of the Philippines.”

“This measure will arm our people with the knowledge they need to take the steps necessary to ensure that their families and their homes are out of harm’s way,” Atayde added.

The national disaster map will identify “low-lying areas vulnerable to rising sea levels as a result of climate change and high risk for natural disasters.”

It will also mark lands that are first bordering the sea levels, second exposed to volcanic eruptions, and third lying on earthquake faults. It shall also provide the criteria for evacuation and illustrations of recommended evacuation sites and routes.

“This information provided by a national disaster map will help people all around our country, which we know is vulnerable to disasters. Even here in Quezon City, we see that there are places that are dangerous to construct or build a house,” said the freshman lawmaker.

“The tragic part is that we discover this after the fact; after the damage has been done and lives have been lost. A national disaster map can prevent all these.”

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