Milan-based Pinoys attend climate change forum

Posted at 05/04/12 9:29 AM

MILAN, Italy - Amidst worries about the alarming effects of global warming, Filipino recently attended a climate change forum at the Philippine Consulate General office in Milan.

Dean Antonio La Viña of the Ateneo School of Government talked about climate change as it affects the families of Filipino migrants in the Philippines.

The almost 2-hour talk, which was attended by several active Filipino community leaders and OFWs, was centered on disaster risk reduction mind setting. 

Warning the worst is yet to come, La Viña encourages OFWs to help prevent climate change by taking care of the environment for the sake of the coming generations.

He emphasized that natural disasters like typhoons, floods, tsunami, landslides, are inevitable, but damage can be lessened if people take precautions.

Asked how OFW families can avoid the worst, the environmental expert responded that Filipinos should learn to survive heavy rainfalls that cause unusual flooding and landslides.

He also encouraged OFWs to make sure the houses they build will be able to withstand natural calamities. A two-storey house for example, is better than a bungalow and the upper level should be ready to use when floods arrive.

La Viña added that people’s adaptability to natural disasters, plus social responsibility is a must.

La Viña stressed rich countries must commit themselves to mitigation measures, primarily on emission reductions to avert a worst case-scenario of global warming.

But almost all of these rich countries cannot commit to a “no to emissions”-policy because they do not want their economy to suffer. However, China, La Viña said, is willing to decrease emissions as long as their economy’s not at risk.

Although the Philippines’ contribution to climate change is very little, being an emerging country, it is wise to prepare, La Viña said.

Disaster risk reduction mind-setting is important to prepare Filipinos for the worst.

Among the ways to lessen global warming: stop deforestation, illegal mining, improve  waste disposal system at all places, avoid  the use of cars and other gasoline/diesel-run transportation means.

La Viña also emphasized that the government, should come up with more advanced and effective rainfall monitoring systems, as well as build permanent evacuation centers, to avoid casualties during heavy typhoons.

Local governments’ strict implementation of the land use regulations is also very important to avoid human-induced disasters, including ill-planned housing projects or infrastructures that destroy forests resulting to landslides.

OFWs response to La Vina’s call was notably positive.

Edwin Bigcas, chairperson of Migrante Milan, praised La Viña, saying, the talk was very informative and useful. It has opened the minds of many OFWs in Milan who will then influence their families in the Philippines.

Bigcas encourages everyone to act now before it’s too late.