Legarda Renews Call to Action, Urges Congress to Adapt to Climate Change

October 8, 2019

During her privilege speech last September 30, Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda urged her fellow lawmakers in the Congress to strictly implement the country’s climate change laws and policies and ensure that climate change adaptation and mitigation is mainstreamed in all policies, plans, and programs of the government.

Legarda, an environmental champion, stressed on the importance of achieving the 1.5°C long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. The three-term Senator said that the 1.5°C goal is the global warming threshold that will enable vulnerable developing countries like the Philippines to survive and thrive.

The former Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change also gave emphasis on the role of lawmakers in responding to the climate emergency.

“It is our obligation to lead our nation to a more sustainable and climate-resilient path. We need to ensure that climate action is embedded in the country’s long-term development strategies. We also need to carry out immediate risk-informed and science-based adaptation interventions in the most climate vulnerable communities,” she added.

Citing the Global Commission on Adaptation’s (GCA) flagship report and its recommendations, entitled “Adapt Now: A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience,” Legarda enumerated a number of local adaptation initiatives that her colleagues can pursue.

Among the recommendations she cited were harvesting rainwater for household and community use, which is practiced in Ormoc, Leyte; making rain gardens, food gardens, and edible landscapes for food sufficiency, which is practiced in various cities and municipalities such as Taguig City, Quezon City, UP Los Baños, and Valladolid, Negros Occidental; and constructing roadside ditches to mitigate floods.

She also added harnessing solar and other renewable energy to electrify homes, schools, barangay halls, and public places, which is practiced in Guiuan, Samar; and reducing wastes to zero, recycling and reusing, and refusing single-use plastics, which is practiced in Camotes Island, Cebu.

Legarda also said that planting bamboo to protect slopes, prevent landslides, and provide livelihood, which is practice in Lubao, Pampanga; planting mangroves and sea grasses to protect coastal ecosystems and communities, which is practiced in Bohol and Sorsogon; promoting climate field schools and resilient livelihoods for farming and rural communities, which is practiced in Dumangas, Iloilo will help local communities adapt to climate change.

Other GCA recommendations include knowing local risk to natural hazards and improving early warning systems to reach the “last mile” and ensure early action at household and community level, which is practiced in Legazpi City, Albay; and prepared for emergency response to and swift recovery from the cascading impacts of weather events, including contingency planning and drills, which is practiced in Pampanga.

“While we already have the policies in place to enhance the adaptive capacities of our local communities, we must also address the gaps in local data and science on climate risks and hazards to guide local action,” Legarda said.

Legarda encouraged local government units to prepare their respective Local Climate Change Action Plans  or LCCAPs, continue allocating financial resources for adaptation intervention, and sustain the call for climate change.

“The only fitting response to the climate emergency is to change our ways – from our way of thinking and living, to our way of pursuing development,” she concluded.***