The Commission on Human Rights backs the call of President Duterte and the Senate for more investments in disaster-resilient infrastructures.
CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia said that the Philippines is no stranger to disasters.
“This year alone, the country already suffered from volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and flooding. The natural disasters are even compounded because of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic,” she said.
The CHR said that the government must invest in national infrastructure that would facilitate the smooth provision of humanitarian response, connectivity, transport, and utility services to communities affected by disasters.
“We echo the call of the President urging the Congress to increase the budget allocation for the construction of temporary but durable shelters for people in need,” said De Guia.
Since schools and other public buildings are being used as evacuation centers during emergency periods, the CHR backed the call of several senators to improve the quality of schools and classrooms by ensuring that funding and structural requirements are adjusted accordingly.
At the same time, the CHR said the government must also assist and relocate evacuees once the situation stabilizes.
If returning to their homes will not be viable, the CHR said the government must provide evacuees with longer-term assistance so that they would be able to recover from their losses.
The CHR’s call coincided with the observance of the 13th Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week from Nov. 19 to 25.
“If there’s anything the recent typhoons have proven, it’s that climate change is unleashing its wrath and the country remains vulnerable to disasters, viruses, and other diseases,” the CHR said.
“Our current experience shows that the Philippines has no other choice but to invest more in strategic resilient development rather than solely on reactive recovery efforts,” said De Guia.
“The present calamities also highlighted the relevance of a human rights-based approach throughout all stages of the disaster management cycle, and that solution lies in gaining a deeper understanding of multiple and intersectional risks associated with climate and other disasters,” she added.