PHL’s resiliency projects not fairly distributed — WB

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THE World Bank said the government needs to adopt a new method for estimating disaster damage that goes beyond asset losses, because the current approach tends to highlight the value of projects in or near the National Capital Region (NCR).

In its “Lifelines: The Resilient Infrastructure Opportunity” report, the World Bank said: “the most important interventions will take place in the Manila area if asset losses are the main measure of disaster impacts.”

“Assessments of national risk and identification of critical infrastructure need to account for multiple policy objectives and therefore, use a set of metrics that goes beyond asset losses,” it added.

The World Bank noted that the Philippines was able to save more than $1 billion because of natural systems that protect the coastlines against flood and storm surges. It said that nature-based solutions for flood protection reduce the need for hard infrastructure such as dikes.

“In the Philippines, mangroves, reefs and other natural system prevent more than $1 billion in annual disaster losses,” the bank said.

Other countries that benefit from the protection provided by reefs are Cuba, Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico, the World Bank said, noting that these countries save an estimated $400 million each from flood damage annually.

The World Bank also noted the importance of service providers having contingency plans in case of power interruptions.

“In the Philippines, after a typhoon, water tankers (have been) contracted to ensure service continuity despite infrastructure damage.”

The World Bank said it is necessary for resilience measures to be fairly distributed across populations and backed by metrics based on socioeconomic impacts on the affected population.

In a separate statement, World Bank Group President David Malpass said, “Resilient infrastructure is not about roads or power plants alone. It is about the people, the households and the communities for whom this quality infrastructure is a lifeline to better education and better livelihoods.” — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio