Official: Climate change risks Davao's competitiveness

CLIMATE change poses a risk to the competitiveness of Davao City, an official said.

National Competitiveness Council (NCC) of the Philippines private sector co-chairman Guillermo M. Luz told reporters on Wednesday that Davao carries higher risks in disaster compared to other cities.

"Because now storms can hit anytime of the year. Lately, if you notice typhoons arrive later in the year. Before, by October, there would be less or no more storms but now, around September to December, big storms usually happen," he said.

He said it will be unattractive to investors and businesses if there is no plan for business continuity when natural calamities strike, thus, the need to step up the preparedness against natural calamities.

"No business can afford to have a downtime for something like two days. You have to think of a city that will not have a downtime," he said.

Luz said Davao should study closely reports and studies relating to climate or disasters like the risk assessment report by World Wildlife Fund, geohazard maps of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and weather data of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

"We need tools and better planning to see where we are vulnerable or prone to the likes of floods, storm surges, typhoons, and earthquakes," he said.

He said it is important that the city makes a preparedness plan since some natural calamities can be predicted while others could not be predetermined.

Luz said that for instance, the city should respect the distance from shorelines, 40 meters from the high tide mark, to assure the safety of those living in the coastlines. But there are many who have buildings or live inside the zone, so automatically, they are in danger.

"Davao should look at these closely since one thing that can be negative to the competitiveness of the city is not considering the weather. Climate change is a reality," he said.

He also said the city and all other sectors should participate in the planning, like where the buildings will be constructed and what is the evacuation system of the city.

"I believe local government units should invest in climate change and disaster preparedness because if you want to attract business here you need some plan for business continuity," he said.

Luz said if the local government units are not prepared or don't have a disaster preparedness plan, it will lessen the area's competitiveness.

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