Climate Change Commission’s ‘dismal’ performance irks Legarda
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda was irked on Thursday over the Climate Change Commission’s performance and pushed for the agency’s budget deferral.
During the plenary session, only Climate Change Commission Commissioner Robert Borje was present while other commissioners were absent.
The commissioners are currently in the 27th session of the annual Conference of Parties (COP27) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Egypt. The event is until November 18.
“So, pwede natin tanggalin ‘yang budget na ‘yan para magtrabaho sila at ang kanilang asikasuhin ang mga magsasaka’t mangingisda at ang mga katutubo na kailangan natin tulungan, lalo na sa panahon ng Paeng.
(So, we can remove their budget so they could work and assist farmers, fishers, and indigenous peoples who need help, especially those affected by Paeng.)
“You’re supposed to save lives and avert loss of livelihoods. Kung tayo paupo-upo sa mga komperensya ay hindi po tayo makakatulong sa mga namatay sa panahon ng Paeng,” Legarda, an environmental advocate, said.
(You’re supposed to save lives and avert loss of livelihoods. If we just sit in conferences, we cannot help those who died during Paeng.)
Severe Tropical Storm Paeng (international name: Nalgae) recently ravaged the country and left massive flash floods and 159 people killed. Agricultural damage was pegged around P6 billion.
Legarda requested the commission to give a report on the commissioners’ trip and give an update on the COP.
She also would like to be apprised on how climate change adaptation has been mainstreamed in national and local government processes.
The senator then moved for the deferral of the commission’s budget amounting to P128.2 million.
“May I respectfully request that the deliberations of the Commission of Climate Change [budget] be deferred,” Legarda said.
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva agreed with Legarda.
Senator Imee Marcos, budget sponsor, heeded Legarda’s call.
“I think we all have grounds for the requested deferral and as vice chair for the concerned agency, I accede to that request and agree that there should be a deferral of the Climate Change Commission budget,” Marcos said.
Zubiri deferred the commission’s budget deliberations: “The manifestation of our dear colleague, Senate President Pro Tempore, is well taken. Therefore, the budget is deferred.”
Legarda urged the commissioners to return before the last day of budget deliberations on November 16.