August 11, 2011 – The Senate has passed on second reading the People’s Survival Fund bill authored by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
Enrile said the fund is allocated specifically for climate change adaptation efforts.
“The PSF is for local government units and communities that today stand at the frontline of the climate crisis. It is a fund that intends to provide incentives for early adaptation actions by dedicating finances for local resilience-building needs.”
The Senate President observed that vulnerable Filipino communities, particularly women from farming communities, “stand in the frontline of the greatest crisis our world has ever faced.”
The veteran senator said that “development planning must no longer be conducted in vertical silos, where issues like climate change are treated as sectors rather than as drivers of the entire development process. Doing so will create more momentum in the reform of risk governance and coherence in policy making.”
Enrile added that the urgent need is to “arrest the governance chaos prevailing currently over the administration of climate finance, so that monies can flow to national priorities and to those who need funding support the most.”
According to Enrile, “It is not enough to name the problem. We need to make the right investments now–in effort as well as in the redirection of public finance.” The Senate President observed: “Change has to begin with changes in our thinking. It is time for us to distinguish disasters that are episodic in character from slow onset impacts induced by climate change, which may impose even greater, more enduring calamities on our people.”
Enrile pointed out that government intervention on climate change and disaster risk reduction should be “more targeted” to reflect prevailing conditions in the country.
He noted that the rains of June and July which inundated towns and cities in the Visayas and in Mindanao again caused the loss of lives and the destruction of properties and sources of livelihood in those parts of the archipelago. “Adaptation finance should always be seen as an investment, and not a cost,” Enrile said.
“We need to scale up innovative local initiatives and the first step is for national government to establish a fund dedicated to local governments and communities,” Enrile said.
The PSF bill will be deliberated upon by the Senate on third and final reading before it is sent to the Lower House for approval.
Photo: Senate President Enrile during the opening of the Visage: Portraits of Filipinos Facing Climate Change (JC Valencia/iCSC)