Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Local People Starting To Move

Politics and Science should meet

On Monday, October 26, 2009, the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) held an ANC Forum dubbed as “Wired for Disasters”. Figures from the academe and science were invited by ANC and participated in the forum. The ABS-CBN website published a brief item about the forum on the internet.

Mahar Lagmay of the University of the Philippines National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP-NIGS) said that they are developing a map of flood-prone areas with the help of UP-NIGS research assistants and the Ateneo de Manila University's Manila Observatory.

The map will serve as a warning in future disasters. Lagmay said, "That [Ondoy disaster] happened because we were not aware that that kind of disaster could happen."

Monday, October 26, 2009

DENR on Climate Change Act

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Jose L. Atienza, Jr. says:


October 26, 2009

The Climate Change Act of 2009, which President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed into law, puts local government units into the center stage of governance, given the important roles city, town, and barangay leaders play in the implementation of whatever plans and programs on climate change adaptation and mitigation measures that will be crafted by a body tasked under the new law.
The substance and efficacy of Republic Act (RA) 9729 will only be as good as those executing climate change measures. The new law may even be a potent tool in bringing about a stronger green-minded electorate because of the centrality to local elected officials in mainstreaming the climate change agenda into their platforms of governance at the provincial and down to the barangay level.
See more about Sec. Atienza's post here...

Policy Regime Change, Re-engineering

Climate part of still bigger problem

My colleague Earl, one of the organizers of HMES 2010, recently visiting from Kuala Lumpur complains:
  • They are building a high rise tower in Shaw Boulevard. The edge of the building is the very edge of the sidewalk, hugging the street with all the affection it can give.
  • Who approved that kind of design? Who gave permission for that building to be built?
  • Look at Manila Water and Maynilad, they've been cutting all streets in several pieces and not returning them to their original shape. And the MWSS and MMDA, the DPWH doesn't care about sewerages. Just keep building the streets, repairing, rebuilding, but all for terrible waste of public funds.
  • That kind of mentality makes people here prone to risk, danger, disaster, etc., etc.
  • Back in Malaysia, you look at the streets, they're all wide and spacious and no buildings impose themselves on the streets nor on the sidewalks.
  • Now in Malaysia, all permits for building are evaluated through the criteria of Green Technology. That's how they are now in Malaysia.
  • The Philippines is doing the opposite; clearly we are headed for bigger disasters in the future.
Returning from Japan last year, Mr. Michael Buquid says: "They build their streets, bridges, etc. differently in Japan. They build them in layers and layers that when it rains, you can't even see water piling up to a few millimeters on the street surface. All of the rainwater get's soaked up inside the layers. It might be raining hard in Tokyo streets and bridges, but you can see the surface. No rain piles up on top. Amazing!"

And of course we were told long ago how a Japanese architect instructed a local contractor: "You Filipinos build street first. Then when remember, you build sewer. Japan, many years ago already, we do not first build street; we build sewer. If sewer working, we put street on top." Good. But that was said in 1990. It is now 2009.

Well, one doesn't have to go all that far. In Sendakan, that is only a stone's throw away from one of the Philippines' last island in the far Southerns, Taganak Island (it's so small you wonder how they even got a Chinese Mayor there), they're so environment conscious. Sendakan people have been very guarding and protective of their home towns and home province and the even birds frequent their place. That made them a bird watchers' paradise. They earn so much tourist revenues just from bird watchers. I'm even writing a book slowly about that subject.

Some coordination the soon-to-be created, new Climate Change Commission will be doing indeed.

And what about the Philippine version of the Japanese buraku min who thrive in our own sewerages and the sewers and other areas underneath bridges?