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Loren steps up campaign for water security, encourages youth to advocate for the env’t

April 22, 2010

NP-NPC-LDP VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA TODAY CHAMPIONED HER PROPOSAL FOR A WATER SECURITY PROGRAM TO BOOST AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTIVITY AMIDST THE HEAT WAVE BROUGHT BY EL NIÑO.
“The crop damages caused by El Niño has now reached Php8.4 billion, and with the heat wave expected to last until June or July of this year, we’ve got to step up our campaign to irrigate our farmlands, otherwise we will be seeing another round of food price hikes and an increase in hungry Filipinos,” warned Legarda.
“Already, four million filipino families, or 22 percent of the entire population have experienced involuntary hunger for the last three months. This is almost ten percent above the 13.8% average hunger rate for the past decade (1998-2010). It only shows that climate change is a gut issue, and that the extreme weather patterns we now experience not only wreaks disasters such as floods and earthquakes, but goes into the issue of providing healthy food in the table of every Filipino household,” Legarda said.
Legarda laid down her water security program, which includes finding alternative sources of water, watershed reforestation and management, and farm productivity methods.
According to Legarda, “The Philippines has abundant water resources. However, due to inadequate infrastructure, these resources have not been maximized. By default, the agricultural sector suffers the brunt of any shortage as water supply priority is given to municipal and industrial use.”
“First, we have to develop our capability to use alternative sources of water. We’ve been exhausting our surface water, and it’s no longer enough to meet our needs. For instance, we have an average annual rainfall of 2,440mm but we only use around 28% of this,” said Legarda.
Legarda said that rainwater harvesting and Small Water Impounding Projects (SWIPs) can provide water to areas that cannot be served by the local water districts.
To augment our total water supply, Legarda proposed to intensify the reforestation of our watersheds and to strengthen its management by enlisting the support of established farmer organizations and developing livelihood opportunities for the upland dwellers.
She also urged active information dissemination to farmers of farming methods known to improve soil moisture retention and fertility (such as organic-based farming), of appropriate crops to plant, and the proper time of planting and harvesting.
Legarda, who has created and chaired the Senate Oversight Committee on Climate Change, encourages the youth to become a climate hero and take up the environment as an advocacy. “As heirs of our nation’s wealth and heritage, the youth has a primary interest in protecting and conserving the environment. I encourage our young ones to become more aware of global warming, and participate in activities that help adapt to and mitigate its impact.”
The Philippine Youth Climate Movement has recently expressed support for Legarda and her environmental protection campaign.
“The Filipino youth hope that Earth Day 2010 can be a turning point to advance climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs,” said Esperanza Garcia, who heads PYCM and was the youth delegate to the Copenhagen summit.
Legarda’s Luntiang Pilipinas and PYCM partner to join more than one billion people in 190 countries that are taking action for Earth Day.