Climate change inclusion in priority program welcomed

Published by rudy Date posted on May 24, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile welcomed yesterday the program of President Aquino listing climate change as among the top five issues that will require coordinated action and budgetary intervention from Malacañang.

The other priority issues named in the executive order were anti-corruption, peace, economic development and poverty reduction.

“The President has displayed responsive leadership by elevating climate change into a priority issue. A few more tweaks in the plan are still needed but we’re almost there. The climate crisis requires decisive action that utilizes public finance to protect vulnerable Filipino communities from the worst impacts of climate change,” Enrile said in a statement.

Malacañang announced last May 16 the issuance of Executive Order 43, which reorganized Cabinet clusters based on priority issues that advance what the Aquino administration calls its “social contract with the Filipino people.”

Enrile is the author of Senate Bill 2558, a landmark measure seeking to establish the People’s Survival Fund, or the PSF, for local governments and communities. The PSF provides incentives for early climate action from localities, which could tap the fund to support local climate adaptation plans, vulnerability assessments and similar initiatives.

The PSF could be used by localities threatened by persistent flooding, coastal communities facing rising sea levels, or LGUs seeking to promote agricultural programs resilient to extreme temperatures and changing rainfall.

Enrile had applauded the earlier formation of the Climate Finance Group in the executive, an effort led by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. Enrile said such a move should have been reflected in the latest Cabinet reorganization.

Enrile said the country’s response to climate change “must do more than just plant trees or haphazardly build dikes.”

“Climate change has to be integrated into national and local development planning. Budget interventions are critical to our ability to adapt to the changing climate,” the Senate president said.

“We must demand compensation from rich nations, who are mainly responsible for the problem, but we cannot and should not wait for their generosity. It is time we redirect domestic finance towards climate adaptation that prioritize the most vulnerable,” Enrile said. –Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star)

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