Legarda: Losses on climate hazards affect livelihood and economy, whole of nation approach vital in addressing global climate crisis

January 24, 2023

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda has stated that loss and damage brought about by natural disasters harm the people’s livelihood and the country’s economy.

In her privilege speech during the resumption of the session on Monday, she noted that the country had incurred losses of about P506.1 billion from climate-related hazards despite contributing only 0.3 percent of the planet’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

This amount, she said, equates to a combined total annual budget of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

“Mulat na tayo sa epekto nito sa Pilipino at sa ating ekonomiya. Napapawalang-saysay ang deka-dekada nating aksyon upang maitaas ang antas ng buhay ng bawat pamilyang Pilipino at mapalago ang ekonomiya dahil sa matitinding bagyo, tagtuyot, pagbaha, pagguho ng lupa, at iba pang mga delubyo’t sakuna,” she said.

Legarda pointed out that climate finance is needed to build defenses, safeguard every Filipino from climate impacts, and shift the economy and society “towards low-carbon development and growth that would mitigate global warming and the intensity of climate change.”

She mentioned that the Philippines is among the vulnerable developing nations with financial support through the 2015 Paris Agreement.

“This loss and damage fund cannot bring back what we have lost in terms of lives, livelihoods, assets, and opportunities, but just like post war reparations, these will help get us on an appropriate development track,” she said.

The Philippines recently joined the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People, which aims to protect at least 30% of the world’s land and ocean through increased public and private financing.

The country is also a beneficiary under the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a global fund created to serve the Paris Agreement and Kyoto Protocol that aims to provide funding for climate mitigation and adaptation of developing countries.

While these grants benefit the Philippines, Legarda stressed that a whole of nation approach is vital in addressing the dire global climate crisis.

“Hindi lang tayo dapat umasa sa isang grant gaya ng GCF. There should be a whole of government, whole of nation approach in addressing the climate crisis,” she said.

“These few grants will not change the scenario. Dapat sa bawat lokal na pamahalaan, dibdibin at talagang isapuso ang pag-aaral, ang paggamit ng early warning systems, ang paglilikas ng tao, ang paggamit ng [geohazard] mapping. I hope that in everything we do, isaalang-alang po ang epekto ng ating ginagawa sa krisis ng klima na nangyayari,” she added.

Legarda also urged her colleagues to recognize their critical role in dealing with the global climate emergency.

“Buhay, kabuhayan, at kinabukasan ang nakataya. Hindi na pwedeng hindi kaya dahil kailangan. Let’s not waste this opportunity to do good, to do what is right, and in all our endeavors, imagine a different future past this twin crisis of climate and biodiversity collapse,” Legarda concluded. (end)