Senator Edgardo J. Angara and Senator Franklin M. Drilon will lead the Philippine Delegation to 20th Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) from January 8-12 at Tokyo, Japan.
The four-day event hosted by the National Diet of Japan will address regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, as well as matters of common concern in the areas of politics, security and the economy.
The forum will especially zoom in on disaster preparedness and nuclear energy safety.
Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, will deliver country statements on disaster risk management; promotion of cultural, educational and personal exchanges; the territorial issues on the West Philippine Sea; energy and food security; and the issues affecting the Philippine Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.
He will also discuss the innovation cluster on food security and creation of the Philippine Institute on Ageing.
Angara said the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 is a lesson not only for Japan but also for disaster-prone countries like the Philippines.
“This forum is very timely as our country was battered by calamities in 2011, including typhoons Pedring, Quiel and more recently Sendong which left almost 55,000 homeless and more than 1,000 dead,” said Angara.
“We have seen the devastation brought by Sendong Mindanao and the Visayas—we must strive not to let this happen again,” he stressed. “So many lives were lost or damaged. Billions worth of crops and infrastructure were destroyed in an instant. If only we had a master plan for disaster management and mitigation, the severity of this typhoon could have been mitigated.”
He continued, “While emergency response is crucial in disaster response, it does not minimize our vulnerabilities. We will be arming ourselves for the long-term if we focus on reducing disaster risks in the country.”
“We must act now and form a Disaster Science and Management Cluster which will lead in accurate science forecasting and modeling as well as train local governments and school administrators in disaster mitigation,” concluded Angara, also Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering. (30)