By: Gilbert P. Felongco for Gulfnews.com
Published: August 22,2012
Manila: A law that will give teeth to the country’s preparations for the effects of climate change has been signed by President Benigno Aquino III.
Aquino affirmed into law the Peoples’ Survival Fund Act, a measure that aims to make communities more disaster resilient.
According to Climate Change Commission Secretary Mary Ann Sering, the fund has been initially set at P1 billion (Dhs 86.96 million) annually. The outlay, which is expected to be bolstered by foreign contributions, shall be used for the fund under the national budget. This will improve the country’s forecasting and early warning systems against climate change-related hazards.
Likewise, it shall also improve the monitoring and prevention of diseases triggered by climate change.
The Philippines counts as among the most disaster prone countries. Every year, dozens of lives are lost to calamities such as typhoons, storms and flooding while billions of pesos are incurred from damaged infrastructures, private properties and agriculture.
According to Sering, the Peoples’ Survival Fund “aims to make communities safer against the intensifying effects of climate change.
“For her part, Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said the new law “will provide the seed capital as the sister law of the Climate Change Act of 2009,” said.
“The enactment of amendments to the Climate Change Act of 2009, primarily the creation of the People’s Survival Fund (PSF), strengthens the three-year-old law by helping achieve its objectives through provision of funds to local governments and communities for their climate change adaptation programs. The President’s approval of the PSF affirms our nation’s commitment to building communities’ resilience to disasters,” she said.
Legarda said the fund will also be managed by the People’s Survival Fund Board headed by a commissioner and representatives from the Climate Change Commission, and representatives various government agencies, state financial institutions, business sector and non-government organisations.
“The PSF bill will help achieve the objectives of the Climate Change Act of 2009 by providing funds to local governments and communities to support their adaptation activities,” she added.
“The degradation of our environment, coupled with the effects of climate change, such as heavy monsoon rains, prolonged droughts, and other extreme weather events, places us on a highly precarious position and endangers the lives of our citizens. The PSF will help local governments’ adaptation activities, such as in the areas of land and water resources management, agriculture and fisheries, health, infrastructure development, and natural ecosystems,” she explained.
“We are called upon by the Filipino people to safeguard them against the death, destruction, and poverty trap caused by disasters. There is no substitute for national and local government programs and budgets that are climate change-adaptive. The PSF will allow us to pole-vault toward ensuring disaster- and climate change-resilient communities,” Legarda concluded.