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Climate Finance is a Race against Time: Pushing the People’s Survival Fund to the finish line

By Kairos dela Cruz

Representatives of Aksyon Klima member organizations rode iCSC’s e-jeepney in lobbying for the immediate passage of the People’s Survival Fund Bill in the House of Representatives on May 16, 2012.

Discussions on climate change impacts have become so mainstreamed that people are even joking about unexpected rainfall as “oh god! Climate change is here.” Making the issue more understandable brewed a degree of empathy among Filipinos. The toll on lives and livelihood of the strongest typhoons underscored climate change

even more.

Among climate change advocates and environmentalists, people consciously knowing climate change opened a fresh platform to push for more reforms to address climate change. Mitigation and adaptation frameworks in the advent of the fast changing climate became a regular part of the jargon.

It pays to

know the difference.

For ordinary people, mitigation efforts focus on changing current practices to cut down negative contributions to the environment’s well being. The call to reduce carbon emissions is an example of mitigation. The less popular but equally important adaptation starts-off by accepting the fact that the climate has changed and people need to cope up with the changes to preserve those that can be preserved and to rehabilitate those that are worse. Both thrusts are important focal points in addressing climate change, particularly in one of the most climate change-vulnerable countries- Philippines.

Climate finance plays a vital role in empowering local communities with ideas in adapting to climate change and the funds needed to transform ideas to realities.

On October 14, 2010 Congressman Erin Tañada of the 4th District of Quezon Province sought to include the People’s Survival Fund in the generally policy-focused Climate Change Act of 2009. The People’s Survival Fund or PSF will allocate financial capabilities for the adaptation efforts in local communities by opening an accessible direct, transparent, and adaptation-driven fund.

Marked as HB3528, the PSF Bill is currently being lobbied in the House of Representatives (HoR) by Aksyon Klima (AK), an alliance

of environment groups in the Philippines. Spearheaded by the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC), a think tank organization and a member of AK, the group visited more than a hundred offices in HoR to buff-up the 80-congressperson strong support behind the passing of PSF.

A senate version of PSF is already waiting after the successful filing of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, which was supported by the majority of senators when it was put in the floor.

aksyon-klima-representatives-02

Riding the innovative electric jeepney, AK lobbyists spent a whole day in HoR and scheduled more visits to make sure that PSF will reach local communities. The group carried letters from Cong. Tañada asking for co-authorship from other congresspersons. To remind everyone who will benefit in the PSF, postcards bearing the pictures of ordinary Filipinos from communities that suffered extraordinary conditions due to climate change are handed out by AK lobbyists. Though a success, PSF needs more push. PSF needs more support. PSF needs more advocates. PSF needs “people” to reach the finish line.

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