Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said Tuesday the Aquino government should deem urgent the release of P1-billion People’s Survival Fund (PSF) saying that calamities victimize the poor even more.
“Ang mga mahihirap, nababaon pang lalo sa hirap kapag tinamaan ng mga kalamidad,” Binay said after visiting the Eastern Visayas, which bore the brunt of super typhoon Yolanda two years ago.
Binay said there is a need to put a sense of urgency in the approval process for the release of the PSF so that local government units (LGUs) can mitigate the impacts of climate change faster.
The Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS) of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said that Eastern Visayas is now the poorest region in the country.
The poverty incidence in the region rose to 54.9 percent in 2014, compared to the 45 percent registered in 2012. This translates to about 2.25 million residents who do not earn enough.
Currently, the People’s Survival Fund Board (PSFB), which administers the PSF, convenes at least twice a year to approve requests for the use of the fund, aside from its other functions.
Binay said that the PSFB should meet at least monthly to approve funding requests from LGUs and community organizations.
“Dumarami na po ang mga malalakas na bagyo tulad ng Yolanda dahil sa climate change, at pinaka-apektado rito ang mga mahihirap nating mga kababayan,” he added.
The PSF is a special fund created by Republic Act 10174, or An Act Establishing the People’s Survival Fund to Provide Long-term Finance Streams to Enable the Government to Effectively Address the Problem of Climate Change.
LGUs and community organizations can apply for financial support from the P1-billion special fund meant to boost LGUs’ long-term climate change mitigation and adaptation programs.
“How can the government effectively respond to the impacts of climate change when the Board meets only twice a year, and the approval process is tedious?” Binay said.
A project proponent needs to submit at least 16 documents to the PSF Secretariat/Climate Change Office for consideration.
The government is mandated by the law to set aside at least P1 billion per year to fund measures and initiatives in the areas of water resources management, land management, agriculture and fisheries, health, infrastructure development, natural ecosystems and guarantee for risk insurance needs for farmers, agricultural workers and other stakeholders.