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Legarda Guides LGUs in Crafting Climate Adaptation Plans to Access People’s Survival Fund

October 30, 2015

As the Climate Change Commission (CCC) announced it is ready to accept climate change adaptation (CCA) proposals for funding under Republic Act 10174 or the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) Law, Senator Loren Legarda reminded local government units (LGUs) and community organizations on how to craft plans that would effectively address the impact of the Earth’s warming temperature.

“First, how is your community affected by climate change? Is it a coastal community that may be affected by sea level rise or declining fish catch because of coral bleaching? Is it a farming community greatly affected by El Niño or too much rainfall? Is it an urban area prone to flooding? The location of the community, the direct impact of climate change, and the risks posed by extreme weather events are crucial in crafting a climate change adaptation plan,” said Legarda, sponsor of the PSF Law and chairperson of the Senate Committee on Climate Change.

The PSF is a special fund in the amount of one billion pesos appropriated annually under the General Appropriations Act that aims to support local governments’ climate adaptation activities, such as in the areas of land and water resources management, agriculture and fisheries, health, infrastructure development, and natural ecosystems preservation.

“This will also support the improvement of the monitoring, controlling and prevention of diseases triggered by climate change, establishment of forecasting and early warning systems, and strengthening institutional development, for local governments, for preventive measures, planning, preparedness and management of impacts relating to climate change,” said Legarda.

The Fund can be accessed by LGUs and community organizations upon evaluation and approval of their CCA project proposals by the PSF Board.

Legarda, who also authored the Philippine Climate Change Act that created the CCC, said that LGUs and community organizations should look into how they can implement environmental laws as they craft their climate adaptation plans.

“In adapting to climate change, we also have to look into other laws such as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. When we segregate waste, reuse, recycle and upcycle, we lessen the actual waste that we produce and this prevents us from using incinerators or burning garbage, and we also address a major cause of flooding, which is the blockage of waterways by plastic bags,” Legarda explained.

“Plans to implement the Renewable Energy Law can also be part of the CCA proposal, because favoring renewables such as hydro, wind and solar energy over fossil fuel is mitigation, which is a function of adaptation. The creation of disaster risk reduction programs, in line with the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Act and the Sendai Framework for DRR, is also a vital component of CCA,” she added.

Legarda said that DRR is an important part of CCA because climate change has been causing extreme weather events such as El Niño, torrential rain, and stronger typhoons.

“CCA does not have to be high-tech. Mangrove reforestation is one example. Mangroves sequester carbon and serve as buffer against tsunami and storm surge. Building rainwater catchments in barangays can help address both flooding and drought as these systems store water from rainfall which can later be used during the dry season,” Legarda said.

The Senator added that CCA plans should be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) because climate change threatens our basic human rights—food, health, potable water, decent shelter, and even life itself.

In CCA for the agriculture sector, which is vital in ensuring continuous food supply, adaptation measures should include more investments in agricultural research and infrastructure, improved water governance and land use policies, better forecasting tools and early warning systems, among others.

“Climate change is in our midst. We feel it already. We cannot go business as usual; we need to adapt and mitigate. The ill effects of a changing climate can be prevented if we consider CCA not as an added cost but a wise investment. As we await the signing of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the PSF Law, I join the CCC in urging our LGUs and community organizations to craft and submit their CCA proposals to be able to access the fund and make our communities climate- and disaster-resilient,” Legarda concluded.