Infra investment faces risk from disasters
Every year, the Philippines loses billions of pesos worth of public investment in infrastructure and, more importantly, human lives due to extreme weather patterns brought about by climate change.
At a workshop for journalists called “Climate Change: Gets Mo Na Ba?” held in Legazpi City, Albay, Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano said that developing countries, including the Philippines, which have contributed the least to greenhouse gas emissions, are the most vulnerable to climate change.
“From the development perspective, climate change is the game changer, as all our efforts and investments will be obliterated if we don’t give attention to doing our jobs and living a life with resiliency to climate change,” Serrano said.
Serrano said the DA is for meaningful adaptation, not mitigation, citing the need to review scientific and technical work program to provide the basis for new agriculture and fishery infrastructure designs, standards and specifications, and climate change resilient technologies, while pursuing agricultural and fishery developmental programs.
“We cannot have climate change adaptation program without integrating and harmonizing it with disaster risk reduction program,” he added.
Serrano represented Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala during the two-day workshop attended by over 70 tri-media journalists, which was sponsored by the Philippine Agricultural Journalists, Inc. (PAJ) in partnership with the DA Bicol regional field office, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), Philex Mining Corp., and Smart Communications.
The Legazpi workshop was the first of four PAJ regional workshops aimed at “laymanizing” terminologies and processes to enable journalists to understand climate change and thus write and broadcast more interesting stories for the appreciation of the general public.
The succeeding workshops will be conducted in Tacloban (August 27-29), Siargao (September 17-19), and Tuguegarao (October 27-29). They are also co-sponsored by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Regional Program for Southeast Asia (CCAFS-SEA), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF).
Serving as workshop partners are the Philippine Network of Environmental Journalists, Inc. (PNEJ), Philippine Science Journalists, Inc. (PSciJourn) and Philippine Federation of Rural Broadcasters (PFRB).
For his part, former Press Secretary Mike Toledo commended the PAJ workshop, saying, “There is this proper need to share the responsibility of writing and publishing, and broadcasting better and more stories on climate change to inform, educate, and change the mindset of a given populace.”
Toledo represented Manuel Pangilinan, chairman of the MVP group of companies which include MPIC, Philex and Smart, co-sponsor of the climate change workshops.
He said MVP appreciates the threat posed by climate change and thus their group has been implementing respective programs and initiatives to mitigate and adapt to the changing climate.
Toledo said a flagship program of Metro Pacific is “Shore it up!” —a nationwide effort to protect mangroves that serve as habitat for rich marine life. Maynilad is conducting interactive educational drives on water safety and conservation in public elementary schools Manila and Muntinlupa, whilePhilex Mining Corp. continues to undertake massive reforestation program not just in compliance with government requirements but as part of its corporate social responsibility to its host communities.
PLDT-SMART, he added, has its ‘Kabalikat ng Kalikasan’ programs like ‘Smartrees,’ green cell sites, green merchandising and the Marikina watershed initiative, while Meralco has launched an ‘Energy Leadership Award’ to honor energy-efficient and sustainable eco-friendly schools in partnership with the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources.
He said the MVP group has partnered with the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation and is an active member of the Corporate Network for Disaster Response, conducting response and relief work through its ‘Tulong Kapatid’ collective program.
He noted that when natural calamities such as earthquakes and typhoons strike, the Philex rescue team is one of the first on ‘ground zero’ to conduct search-and-rescue and retrieval operations.