PH climate change measures to get P13 B in 2014By Tonette Orejas
Inquirer Central Luzon
MANILA, Philippines—Climate change adaptation and mitigation in the Philippines is getting a budget of P13 billion in 2014, up from P1 billion in 2011, an official of the Climate Change Commission said on Saturday.
The increased funding is tucked in the respective budgets of the departments of science and technology, environment and natural resources, agriculture, agrarian reform, public works and highways, health and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, said Mary Ann Lucille Sering, the commission’s vice chair and executive director of the Climate Change Office.
Sering shared the information with reporters attending the final session of an environmental reporting fellowship for Filipino journalists organized by the Washington D.C.-based International Women’s Media Foundation. The session was held in Pasig City.
She said recent destructive typhoons had convinced the Aquino administration to take more preventive measures to save lives and resources.
Sering credited Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima for supporting the allocation of additional funds to address the possible impacts of climate change locally.
She said she was happy about the enthusiasm of President Benigno Aquino for programs to ease the impact of climate change.
She said, however, that not every disaster could be blamed on climate change. Weak infrastructure and natural risks, such as earthquakes and typhoons, can be dealt with to avoid calamities.
Funds should go to research to know how the increase in temperature could affect food production and the natural environment. Science and land use planning should be employed, she added.
The increased budget, she said, should also support the implementation of the National Climate Change Action Plan drafted by 200 stakeholders.
Sering said the “credibility problem” of several national government agencies affect how the actions of government are perceived and taken.
Climate change adaptation and mitigation programs are being brought down to the level of local governments this year, after being piloted in the Caraga region beginning with vulnerability assessment and mapping.
“The government is trying to do everything,” Sering said.
Citing the provisions of the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 (Republic Act No. 10121), Sering said citizens may take legal action against elected officials who refuse or ignore information and warnings on disasters.
The Philippines is among the countries battered most by disasters, according to the United Nations. The country is hit by more than 20 typhoons yearly and is located in an earthquake belt.