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Pacman, celebs join poor people’s DEPENSA vs climate change

PNOY, House urged to prioritize People’s Survival Fund bill

7 February 2011, Manila(Release) Pound-for-pound King Manny Pacquiao and Filipino celebrities today called for the passage of a landmark legislation that allocates government monies as defense against climate change. Dubbed the People’s Survival Fund (PSF), the bill has been filed in the House of Representatives by Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III and in the Senate, by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

“To prevent climate change from knocking us out, we need to plan a good defense. The People’s Survival Fund is the only way to defeat an aggressive opponent like climate change,” said Pacquiao, who is among the first members of the House to sign as a co-author of the bill.

“The PSF can help poor men and women farmers build their resilience to the likes of the recent spate of flooding that destroyed crops and now threatens our national food security. We must beat climate change to the punch if we are to beat it at all,” said Congressman Tañada.

Since the start of the year, flooding in different parts of the country has displaced thousands, killed 60 people and destroyed properties and livelihoods. Continuous strong rains, which are not expected at this time of the year, have prevented farmers from planting rice in Palawan.

The passage of the PSF is an initiative of the DEPENSA campaign, which calls for the government to build the defense of Filipinos against climate change a national priority. DEPENSA is a joint undertaking of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC), artists’ collective Dakila, and international non-profit Oxfam. The group is calling for President Benigno Aquino to include the PSF in his administration’s priority bills and for Congress to pass it.

“We racked up billions of pesos in destroyed rice crops during Typhoon Juan. What will happen if we are continuously hit by typhoons? We need to set up projects that will protect our food sources. Offense is the best defense. We urge the President to pass the PSF and cushion Filipinos from the blows of climate change,” said Constantino.

Most of the deadliest and damaging typhoons that hit the Philippines occurred in the last two decades, with an estimated cost of over P92 billion in direct damages. According to the Department of Agriculture, the value of lost crops due to Typhoon Juan last year is at 10.59 billion pesos.

If enacted into law, the PSF will allocate predictable and regular government funding for local plans in response to creeping climate change, from sea level rise to increasing temperatures.

To convince members of the House to pass the PSF, artists and celebrities performed tracks off of the Tik Tok Pilipinas Climate Advocacy Kit produced by Dakila and Oxfam at the launch of the DEPENSA campaign in the House. The advocacy kit contains songs and audio recordings about issues related to climate change.

Dakila is a collective of artists that uses creative platforms to push for different advocacies. iCSC is a Manila-based think tank working on fair climate policy and sustainable energy solutions.  Oxfam is an international non-governmental organization working in over 100 countries to find lasting solutions to poverty and human suffering.

For more information, please contact:
Glenn Maboloc, Oxfam Media Officer at 0928-504-2911

Photo: Cong. Erin Tañada, Cong. Irvin Alcala, members of artists’ collective Dakila and representatives of community-based groups wear boxing gloves to signify their support for the passage of the People’s Survival Fund (Reina Garcia/iCSC)

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