• P132B tagged for climate change

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    A total of P132 billion will be taken from next year’s P3.002-trillion national budget for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction initiatives, the government said.

    Ahead of the arrival of a powerful typhoon, the Budget department over the weekend said the “huge investment” was part of an effort begun in 2011 to address the impact of climate change.

    In a statement, the department said the figure was determined, with the help of the World Bank, under an ongoing audit of the P3.002-trillion budget for next year.

    It claimed that the outlay was the Philippines’ response to calls by finance ministers of the “Vulnerable Twenty” (V20) group for a significant mobilization of funds for climate change initiatives.

    The V20 group includes the Philippines and represents nations most vulnerable to climate change. It held its inaugural meeting during the World Bank/International Monetary Fund annual meetings in Lima, Peru earlier this month to push for greater investments ahead of United Nations-led climate change talks in Paris.

    “The amount of P132 billion for climate expenditures is a huge investment, but we have been working on increasing the budget to address climate change since 2011,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said in the statement.

    “More importantly, the 2016 budget builds on the lessons of Typhoon Yolanda as well as focusing on climate change adaptation,” Abad added.

    He claimed that the prioritization of climate change-related funds reflected the national government’s support for enhancing disaster preparedness and boosting resilience in vulnerable communities.

    The Budget department explained that the tagging of climate expenditures was made possible through a World Bank-supported initiative. By tracking such expenditures, the government will have an easier time with identification, ensuring transparency, and enhancing effectiveness, it added.

    The bulk or 72.2 percent of the climate expenditures will be for flood control projects under the Public Works department. In particular, P59.8 billion will be for facilities covering 18 major river basins, principal rivers and watersheds.

    Other projects tagged as climate expenditures include the reforestation of 1.5 million hectares under the six-year National Greening Program of the Environment department (P10.2 billion) and farm-to-market roads under the Department of Agriculture (P12.9 billion), the Budget department said.

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