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Senate bets urged to back climate change legislation

MANILA, Philippines – Very few senatorial candidates have talked about their track record in climate change issues, much less affirmed their support for climate change legislation if they are elected, according to a network of environmental groups.

Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, which is composed of 40 organizations nationwide, called on the candidates to “walk the climate talk” by funding the People’s Survival Fund (PSF).

“If you win a seat in the Senate, will you ensure funding for the People’s Survival Fund? How do you intend to accomplish this?” the candidates were asked through the 2013

Green Electoral Initiative (GEI) survey

organized by Greenpeace, EcoWaste Coalition and Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, all members of Aksyon Klima.

The PSF or Republic Act 10174 is a law that amended the Climate Change Act of 2009 by establishing the country’s first legislated climate change funding mechanism. The fund is dedicated to supporting climate change adaptation and resilience-building programs of local governments and communities.

“Enacted in August 2012, the law stipulates the allocation and maintenance of no less than P1 billion for the Fund annually, appropriated through the General Appropriations Act,” the survey explains.

Around P500 million in unprogrammed funds has been earmarked for the PSF Law in the 2013 budget, meaning the money can be used when extra revenues are collected within the budget year.

The 10-point legislative agenda of the GEI survey also covers the elimination of toxics, the implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act as well as the Fisheries Code, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and a new minerals management law.

“Climate change

is far more than just an issue of relief goods or planting trees. Too much or too little heat and rain will greatly impact the environment, agriculture and even our source of energy. Our politicians must broaden their perspectives if they want to help the country adapt to climate change,” network convenor Melvin Purzuelo said.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has warned that the temperature in Metro Manila can feel up to almost 40 degrees Celsius throughout the week.

The heat index or human discomfort index, which is the bureau’s measure of how hot the body feels, is higher than the actual air temperature.

In addition, the Philippines ranked fourth among more than 190 countries that have suffered the most extreme weather events, such as flooding and storms, over the past 20 years, according to the 2013 Global Climate Risk Index released by Germanwatch.

by Rhodina Villanueva for The Philippine Star

Photo: iCSC/Buck Pago.

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