‘Is PH ready for climate change?’


Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I am a concerned citizen who just wants to know if there is a government agency in our country that is mainly mandated to address the problem of climate change.

Dear Vyron,
A law has been passed adopting the principle of protecting the climate system for the benefit of humankind. This law is Republic Act 9729, or the Climate Change Act of 2009, as amended by RA 10174, which created the Climate Change Commission, the lead agency on climate change. Section 4 of this law reads:

“SEC. 4. Creation of the Climate Change Commission. – There is hereby established a Climate Change Commission, hereinafter referred to as the Commission.

The Commission shall be an independent and autonomous body and shall have the same status as that of a national government agency. It shall be attached to the Office of the President.

The Commission shall be the lead policy-making body of the government, which shall be tasked to coordinate, monitor and evaluate the programs and action plans of the government in order to ensure the mainstreaming of climate change into the national, sectoral and local development plans and programs pursuant to the provisions of this Act.

The Commission shall be organized within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Act.”

The Climate Change Commission is headed by the President of the Republic of the Philippines as Chairman, with three (3) Commissioners who shall be appointed by the President, one of whom shall be appointed as Vice Chairman of the Commission. The Commission also has an Advisory Board comprised of Secretaries of various Departments, Chairmen of various commissions and Representatives from the Academe, Business Sector and Non-Government Organizations (Section 5, RA 9729, as amended by RA 10174).

The Climate Change Commission possesses the following powers and functions pursuant to Section 9 of the law, as amended:

“SEC. 9. Powers and Functions of the Commission. – The Commission shall have the following powers and functions:

(a) Coordinate and synchronize climate change programs in consultation with national government agencies and other stakeholders;

(b) Formulate a Strategic Framework on Climate Change to serve as the basis for a program for climate change planning, research and development, extension and monitoring of activities on climate change;

(c) Exercise policy coordination to ensure the attainment of goals set in the strategic framework and program on climate change;

(d) Recommend legislation, policies, strategies, programs on and appropriations for climate change adaptation and mitigation and other related activities;

(e) Recommend key development investments in climate-sensitive sectors such as water resources, agriculture, forestry, coastal and marine resources, health and infrastructure to ensure the achievement of national sustainable development goals;

(f) Create an enabling environment for the design of relevant and appropriate risk-sharing and risk-transfer instruments;

(g) Create an enabling environment that shall promote broader multi-stakeholder participation and integrate climate change mitigation and adaptation;

(h) Formulate strategies for mitigating GHG emissions, anthropogenic sources and enhance removal by sinks;

(i) Coordinate and establish a close partnership with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in order to increase efficiency and effectiveness in reducing the people’s vulnerability to climate-related disasters;

(j) In coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs, represent the Philippines in climate change negotiations, constitute and lead the Philippine panel of negotiators to the UNFCCC and the formulation of official Philippine positions on climate change negotiation issues and decision areas in the international negotiation arena;

(k) Formulate and update guidelines for determining vulnerability to climate change impacts and adaptation assessments and facilitate the provision of technical assistance for their implementation and monitoring;

(l) Coordinate with local government units (LGUs) and private entities to address vulnerability to climate change impacts of regions, provinces, cities and municipalities;

(m) Facilitate capacity building for local adaptation planning, implementation and monitoring of climate change initiatives in vulnerable and marginalized communities and areas;

(n) Promote and provide technical and financial support to local research and develop merit programs and projects in vulnerable and marginalized communities and areas;

(o) Oversee the dissemination of information on climate change, local vulnerabilities and risks, relevant laws and protocols and adaptation and mitigation measures;

(p) Establish a coordination mechanism with the concerned government agencies and other stakeholders to ensure transparency and coherence in the administration of climate funds taking into consideration the official Philippine position in international negotiations; and

(q) Perform such other functions as may be necessary for the effective implementation of this Act.”

We find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net.


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