Ignoring peril puts RP economy at risk—UNDP

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 07:08:00 10/14/2009

PARO, BHUTAN — The Philippines will immediately lose the economic gains it has made if it ignores disaster preparedness and management, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) said Tuesday.

“Climate change is going to be a huge issue as well as the frequency of disasters in the Philippines,” said Ajay Chhibber, director of UNDP Asia and the Pacific, as he expressed concern about the devastation that “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” brought to the country.

“More resilience need to be built” in the Philippines, he said.

Chhibber said the country “has made very good economic progress” despite the global economic crisis.

But with the recent calamities, he cautioned that “many people have just escaped poverty and one disaster could throw them back. This is where I think more should be done.”

The UNDP official addressed a four-day conference on democracy organized by the UNDP and the Bhutan government which gathered some 200 delegates from all over Asia.

Bhutan, the landlocked Himalayan kingdom wedged between the politically dominant countries of China and India, has entered a new era of democracy, starting with its first national parliamentary elections which was completed in March 2008. King Jigme Singye Wangchuck ratified Bhutan’s first Constitution in July 2008.

Though it is still taking baby steps toward democracy, Bhutan can serve as a “role model” even for older democracies like the Philippines, especially in how the small nation is preserving nature. Edson C. Tandoc Jr

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