Thursday, February 24, 2011

 SunStar Manila
February 25, 2011

Congressional support for a bill that establishes a climate adaptation fund for local governments has risen, a leading Philippine climate policy think tank said.

Lawmakers co-authoring the People's Survival Fund Bill have reached 71. Included in the list is World Boxing Champion and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao, said the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC).

Once enacted, the bill, which has already passed on first hearing in both chambers, "will give local governments and communities the means to cope with the rapidly changing climate," iCSC executive director Red Constantino said.

Also filed as twin measures in the Senate and the House of Representatives by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada, the bill seeks to provide committed funding to local governments to support climate adaptation programs.

These programs include deployment of local agricultural meteorological capability and technology, livelihood and shelter support for communities threatened by rising seas, small water impounding projects and crop shifting support for areas facing anticipated extreme drought conditions, and anti-flooding measures.

Besides Pacquiao, other lawmakers calling for the PSF Bill's early passage is Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate's committee on climate change, who is leading the charge in the chamber.

Once enacted, various fund sources such as annual portions of proceeds from government-owned corporations and the Motor Vehicles Users Charge (MVUC) will be pooled in the climate change survival fund.

The fund will be managed by the Climate Change Commission, together with the Departments of Finance and Budget and Management, with representatives from the business and non-government organization sectors sitting as observers.

"If the People's Survival Fund bill is passed, local governments and communities need not tap anymore meager funds allocated to support social services such as health or education," Constantino added.

The iCSC is a member of Aksyon Klima, a national network that described the PSF Bill as "a necessary strengthening of RA (Republic Act) 9729."

RA 9729, also known as the Climate Change Act of 2009, established the Climate Change Commission with the mandate to mainstream climate change into government policy formulation.

However, it did not identify sources or mechanisms of financing for climate adaptation activities that may be required over and above existing government programs. The PSF bill seeks to remedy the weakness in the current law. #

SunStar Manila story here





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