City mayor Lucilo Bayron delivers message during the first flag ceremony in 2022 at the City Hall on Monday. (Photo courtesy of City Information Office)

Climate change contributed to Typhoon Odette’s strength, according to Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron, who vowed to construct more resilient public infrastructures in the city.

During the regular flag ceremony at City Hall on Monday, Bayron said the unprecedented destruction wrought by Typhoon Odette is an “eye-opener” to the need for stronger infrastructure.

The evacuation shelters, which were intended to be tough to safeguard the residents, were among the first to lose their roofs to Odette during her onslaught, the city mayor cited.

“Ako ang tingin ko, may kinalaman siguro ang climate change dito dahil never na dumaan dito sa atin ang bagyo. Doon lang sa northernmost part ng Palawan, pero this time dumaan sa atin,” Bayron said.

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“Eye-opener ito kasi kung titingnan natin ‘yong mga buildings na pinagawa natin [katulad ng] evacuation centers siya ang unang tumuklap ang bubong. Siguro we have to come up with a design [na matibay] dahil sa nangyaring ito. Na kapag sinabing evacuation center kailangan resilient yan sa typhoon, sa bagyo, kahit 300 kilometers per hour (kph) na hindi tutuklap ‘yong bubong,” Bayron added.

Bayron emphasized that being climate-resilient is crucial to development as it is one of the primary selling advantages to investors, pointing to the fact that Odette was the first storm to hit Puerto Princesa directly.

He said further that Odette’s destruction in the city was not a positive indicator because it already contradicted the fact that it was typhoon-free.

“First time nangyari sa Puerto Princesa na nagkaroon tayo ng ganyan kalakas na bagyo. At hindi maganda ‘yong signal na natanggap natin dahil mas magiging mahirap sa atin mag-invite ng investor kasi noon isa sa pinagmamalaki natin na wala kaming lindol wala kaming volcano, wala kaming typhoon so safe kayo sa Puerto Princesa,” Bayron said.

“Although doon sa northern most barangays, still [part] ng Puerto Princesa, [at] magrereflect sa image natin. Palagi na nating dadalhin ‘yon,” he added.

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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.