Thursday, November 25, 2010

‘People’s Survival Fund’ Bill pushed to help victims of climate change
By Gina Abuyuan, November 18, 2010
Yahoo! Southeast Asia

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao – The subject of the film “An Inconvenient Truth,” an award-winning documentary about global warming and the man who made it a buzzword, ex-U.S. vice president Al Gore, is more than a conversation piece here in Mindanao.

It’s a daily reality for those making their living off the land and sea, and whose livelihoods have been adversely affected by climate change.

It’s also the anchor on which a new bill has been written: Known as the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) or HB 3528, the bill aims to ”establish a fund dedicated to vulnerable local governments and communities struggling to adapt to the rapidly changing climate.”

It was filed initially Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who describes it as a “legacy bill,” as future generations are certain to be impacted by climate change.

Representative and Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III (4th district of Quezon) works closely with Enrile and explained it today to participants in an event entitled ‘Depensa: Climate Adaptation Financing and Risk Reduction Initiatives in Mindanao.’

“The Philippines is one of the highest risk-prone areas in the world,” Tañada says. “The impact of climate change falls most heavily on people who have the LEAST to do with climate change.”

As it is, local governments have to divert funds allotted for education, health, and agriculture, to disaster management. Most funds that come for that purpose are either from charity or aid from foreign governments. “We need a long-term, predictable, and transparent source of funds to make LGUs more resilient,” Tañada said.

According to a statement prepared by Oxfam and iCSC (Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities), “The PSF is a ‘rewards’ fun: vulnerable localities that craft climate change adaptation projects or plans can access the PSF. The PSF thus incentivizes local climate action.”

Tañada says that the funds that make up the PSF can come from sources such as portions from Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (road tax), cash dividends from all government-owned and controlled operations, credits earned under the Clean Development Mechanism, and contributions from other private, public, foreign, and local sources.

“We want early passage, in current congress,” says iCSC executive director Renato Redentor Constantino. “The next step to be taken is that PNoy must certify it as priority legislation.”

“You may have the best climage change adapation strategy, but the bottomline (is still important),” says Tañada. “If the sources of funding are not made available, our efforts are meaningless.

“Kelangan natin ng pondo sa depensa, depensa para sa climate change. Hindi tayo magpapatalo sa pagbabago ng klima (We need funds for our fight against climate change. We will not be defeated by it.” #

Photo by Jose Enrique Soriano/iCSC. Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Lorenzo "Erin"Tañadadelivers the keynote address at the landmark launching of Depensa! held in Surigao City last November 18, 2010, a campaign spearheaded by iCSC, Oxfam and Dakila.

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