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Legarda Hails Convening of Climate Change Commission, Concurrence of Cabinet to Paris Agreement Ratification

February 1, 2017

Senator Loren Legarda hailed the convening of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, January 31, as well as the submission of the certificates of concurrence (COC) in the Paris Agreement by all concerned government departments.

Legarda, who was invited at the Joint CCC En Banc and Advisory Board Meeting in Malacañang as the principal author of the Climate Change Act, said that it was the first time that the President convened the Commission since the enactment of the law in 2009.

“Under the Climate Change Act, there are three commissioners of the CCC and the chairperson is no less than the President of the Philippines. I am glad that for the first time since the law was enacted, the President has finally convened the Commission. This is a good sign that our President sees the importance of addressing climate change impacts as it affects the overall development of the country,” she said.

“In fact, we have also worked with the Executive Department to make the 2017 national budget more climate-adaptive. The allocation for climate-tagged programs, activities and projects for this year amounts to Php208.65 billion, mostly on infrastructure, agriculture and environment,” said Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committees on Finance and Climate Change.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that it has already received all the COC needed so that the President can ratify the Paris Agreement.

“It is a welcome development that all concerned agencies of government are now ready to ratify the Paris Agreement. Once the Executive ratifies and transmits the instrument of ratification to the Senate, I would actively shepherd the Senate’s immediate concurrence,” said Legarda.

“The issue of climate justice, which is one of the concerns of the administration, is enshrined in the Agreement. If we ratify, we become part of the succeeding meetings about the Paris Agreement. It is to our advantage that we are in the talks so we can converge with our fellow vulnerable nations on how we should move forward and compel big greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters to do their fair share,” she stressed.

At the 2016 climate negotiations in Marrakech, Morocco, the Philippines sat as an observer in the ceremonial first meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement or the CMA. But once it ratifies the Agreement, it can already participate in the next CMA.

Meanwhile, Legarda asked the CCC to prioritize the completion of the local climate change action plans (LCCAP) of all the 1,634 local government units (LGUs).

“The CCC should guide LGUs in crafting the LCCAP and work with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on a timeline for completion. This is crucial because LGUs are the frontliners in our fight against climate change. They are the ones who can determine how their community is affected by climate change. 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 action plan,” she explained.

“The CCC should also roll out the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) and give all concerned departments a detailed guideline of all international funding sources for climate change adaptation and mitigation, such as the Green Climate Fund, among others. The DFA can also help by acquiring through our embassies and consulates abroad the various sources of technological and financial assistance that our government can tap,” she added.

The PSF is a special fund in the amount of one billion pesos appropriated annually under the General Appropriations Act that aims to support LGUs 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.