Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change yet it took Malacañang three years to finish the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of a law that provides local government units (LGUs) the needed funding to implement programs and construct infrastructure to make them resilient.
Senator Francis Escudero said the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) was established by virtue of RA 10174 which was enacted into law in 2012.
The special fund can be used for the financing of adaptation programs and projects based
on climate change action plans of local government units and communities. It can finance adaptation activities in the areas of water resources management, land management, agriculture and fisheries, health, infrastructure development, fragile ecosystems, and integrated coastal zone management.
Congress earmarked P1 billion for PSF in the spending program of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) this year but as of June 30, no releases have been made from the PSF because of the absence of IRR.
It was only recently that Malacañang announced that it already finalized the IRR.
With the expected release of the PSF, Escudero called on the Climate Change Commission (CCC) to immediately disseminate the criteria for funding climate change adaptation proposals to guide LGUs in their efforts to access the P1-billion fund.
Escudero, the chairman of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources, also advised LGUs to start thinking of measures that will address extreme weather events in their areas and the impact of climate change on residents.
He noted that aside from asking for funding to procure boats and life vests, LGUs should also come up with proposals for long-term programs that will mitigate the impacts of typhoons and other natural calamities.
The senator said LGUs could seek funding to map their municipalities and cities to see which parts are most vulnerable to flooding, landslides and other extreme weather events. They can also make projections on temperature changes and rainfall.
“We need to establish reliable information about the vulnerability of different areas and sectors to climate change. This will guide all future infrastructure development projects, reforestation efforts and livelihood initiatives,” he said.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said 84 percent of 81 provinces in the country are vulnerable to rain-induced landslides.
This covers more than 102,000 square kilometers of the provincial land, or an area 159 times the size of Metro Manila.