SONA, science, screens: Disaster preparedness 101
MANILA, Philippines – From the State of the Nation Address (SONA) to Science and Technology Week and now an instructional video, government and advocates are driving home the message: disaster preparedness saves lives.
As part of a multi-agency effort to raise awareness on climate change, Sen Loren Legarda produced an instructional video called “Ligtas,” a 17-minute primer on how ordinary Filipinos can prepare for different natural disasters.
Watch the video here:
Directed by internationally awarded filmmaker Brillante Mendoza, “Ligtas” will be distributed in state colleges and universities, private schools, and various local government units nationwide. Legarda is also requesting SM Cinemas to show it as a trailer in their cinemas.
“After our ‘Buhos’ documentary after Ondoy in 2009, I said, ‘Direk, after we showed the natural hazards, can we show a how-to, instructional video that teaches people how to react to tsunamis, storms surge, tornado, floods, landslides, etc? It’s a challenge for an internationally renowned artist to be asked to do an instructional video but he did it,” Legarda said at the launch of “Ligtas” on Wednesday, July 24.
“Ligtas” illustrates tips listed in the pamphlet produced by the Senate Climate Change Committee headed by Legarda. A former broadcaster, Legarda voiced the video in Filipino. “Ligtas” also has English subtitles.
The video shows disasters that hit the Philippines like Tropical Storm Ondoy in 2009 and the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo but highlighted safety guidelines. The country is hit by about 20 major storms or typhoons every year.
Mendoza said it took a year to finish “Ligtas,” and its launch is timely with the rainy season bringing floods to Metro Manila and different provinces.
“We had to be visual and interpret the pamphlet. We have writers and researchers who help us and we looked for file video. We had many recreations here so it will look realistic and because not all of the file video showed what we wanted to convey so we had to recreate scenes,” said Mendoza, who won the Best Director award in the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
Legarda also pointed out that “Ligtas” is released after President Benigno Aquino III emphasized disaster risk reduction in his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA), and during Science and Technology Week.
In his SONA last Monday, Aquino hailed the government’s Geohazard Mapping and Assessment Program and Project Noah of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
He also spoke about efforts to relocate informal settlers living near waterways, and the construction of flood control projects like the Blumentritt Interceptor Catchment area.
Legarda said, “Right now, we have geohazard maps: 1:50,000 for all provinces. That’s uploaded online. The goal for 2014 is 1:10,000. The DOST said they will aim for 1:5,000 and besides that, they have the lidar map.”
“The information from DOST will be given to the Environment Department so we have clear mapping to show what effect a storm like Ondoy would have in an area, where will it flood, to project landslides, how mountains will be affected,” added the United Nations Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Sonny Coloma, former Sen Heherson “Sonny” Alvarez and Climate Change Commissioner Yeb Saño were among the guests in the launch of “Ligtas.”
Legarda said their presence showed that disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation cut across the different branches of government and various sectors.
As the head of the Senate committees on environment and climate change, Legarda said she will call for a “convergence meeting” of the DOST, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Climate Change Commission to evaluate the implementation of environmental laws.
“I will file a resolution or a bill to mandate the use of geohazard maps before public or private infrastructure are built,” Legarda said in an interview after the screening.
“Because 74% of Filipinos live in coastal areas, almost 3% of our GDP was washed away by Ondoy in just a few hours and millions of Filipinos are affected by natural hazards like typhoons.”
Legarda and Mendoza will continue collaborating on projects. They are working on a full-length film on human trafficking, and the senator is also planning to produce a feature film or a documentary on indigenous peoples as head of the Senate committee on cultural communities.
For now, the two are focused on the distribution of “Ligtas.”
“Just by being aware of this, I think we can save lives. If because of this, we were able to save a life then we would have achieved our purpose. As the United Nations says, ‘Natural hazards don’t kill, it is our unpreparedness that kills.’” – Rappler.com