The Aquino administration is toying with its response to threats posed by climate change, showing that it has not truly learned from the lessons of Typhoon Yolanda.
Ako-Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, chairman of the House Special Committee on Climate Change, issued the statement on Sunday over an admission of Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte that the absence of guidelines to implement Republic Act(RA) 10174 caused a delay in release of the People’s Survival Fund (PSF).
The PSF was established by RA 10174, which was enacted into law in 2012. Congress has earmarked P1 billion for the fund in the spending program of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) under the 2015 national budget.
But as of June 30, there had been no releases from the PSF.
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.
“The threats of climate change are real, and it is ironic that while our officials are actively participating in international discussions on climate change abroad, back home they appear to be taking their sweet time in taking concrete steps to address these threats,” Batocabe said.
He had called the attention of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) to immediately formulate and publish the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10174 and guidelines for accessing the PSF.
“However, the responses to my pleas have been ambiguous. I have even been accused of being overly interested in the PSF, which I do not deny, because Bicol is one of the regions greatly affected by climate change. If there are people who can benefit from this fund, it is Bicolanos,” Batocabe said.
He added that the administration took notice of the issue when Sen. Francis Escudero, a fellow Bicolano, questioned withholding of the release of the PSF.