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Bad endings and a good start

by: Kairos dela Cruz

The People’s Survival Fund or Republic Act 10174 was passed on August 2012. We celebrated its quick passage — a monumental law that designed to change the way people respond to the impacts of climate change. Together with champions in the legislature and advocates from the non-government world, I feel quiet pride in having played a role in birthing what is now known as the PSF law.

Yet, what happened to the PSF in 2013 and 2014? Well, to be honest, nothing much. The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the law was written and agreed by key government agencies with requisite speed, but it has yet to be signed by President Aquino. The PSF also remained unbudgeted – without cash allocations – in 2013 and 2014.

The consequence? Localities that desired access to the fund remained without adaptation support.

It was mostly two years of frustration.

But don’t get me wrong, I understand there are tons of priorities the government has to juggle, but I really think the government could have acted with a greater sense of urgency concerning a law that intends to help localities realize climate change resilience goals.

Thankfully, things are turning around. My optimism is based on two developments. First, the PSF is now funded. And second, the PSF Board has been convening and meeting in earnest, discussing and also deciding on policy drafts that will make the Fund operational. There have been three board meetings already, and the focus of the last one was about access and implementation.

According to the General Appropriations Act of 2015 or the national budget, the PSF is an additional allocation under the already existing National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF). The use of the PSF is separate from the rest of the NDRRMF.

We finally have the resources needed to put in practice the strategies, collaboration and funding support the PSF was established for in the first place.

CCC's Asec. Joy Goco led the discussion on the manual of operation of the PSF Board.

CCC’s Asec. Joy Goco led the discussion on the manual of operation of the PSF Board.

The PSF Board met for the third time last January 9, 2014 and the meeting was a good one. Friends from the Climate Change Commission made sure that the meeting was fruitful by providing a heavy agenda.  The PSFB discussed a timeline when the call for proposals will be issued, including the expected release of funds to the first batch of adaptation initiatives that will be proposed by localities.

Download “Accessing the People’s Survival Fund”

Accessing-the-Peoples-Survival-Fund_thumbnail_shadowed

The PSF Board is composed of nine members with the Climate Change Commission as the Secretariat. In the last meeting, the Secretariat provid

Things are still expected to change in the next few meetings, but the direction, so far, is ideal.ed the most important parts of fund implementation such as the access criteria, prioritization, and evaluation.

Time to buckle up, friends; things are now in motion and picking up speed. What is now left for us to attend to is to ensure that we sustain this momentum.

Download R.A. 10174 or the People’s Survival Fund law
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