Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jerrie M. Abella/Karl B. Kaufman
February 23, 2011

A non-government organization promoting the use of sustainable energy has welcomed the growing support in Congress for a bill that seeks to establish a climate change survival fund.

In a statement, the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC) said support for House Bill 3258 — or the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) bill — has grown to 71 co-authors, bolstering hopes for the creation of an adaptation fund to increase the resiliency of local government units in surviving the dire effects of climate change.

Filed as twin measures in both houses of Congress by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo "Erin" TaƱada, the PSF bill seeks to provide funding to local governments to support climate adaptation programs.

Such programs include improved 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 possible droughts, and anti-flooding measures.

The bill has already passed first reading in both chambers of Congress.

"This is the kind of response communities need given the increasing magnitude of economic and social costs due to climate change-linked disasters," said iCSC executive director Red Constantino.

Filipino boxing icon and Saranggani Rep. Manny Pacquiao is among 70 legislators calling for the PSF's early passage, while Sen. Loren Legarda, who chairs of the Senate committee on climate change, has likewise expressed support for the bill.

Once passed, sources such as annual portions of proceeds from government-owned corporations and the Motor Vehicles Users Charge (MVUC) will be set aside to form the climate change survival fund, to be managed by the Climate Change Commission, along with such agencies such as the Finance and Budget departments, and representatives from the business sectors and non-government organizations as observers.

"If the People's Survival Fund bill is passed, local governments and communities need not tap meager funds allocated to support social services such as health or education. The climate fund will give local governments and communities the means to cope with the rapidly changing climate," said Constantino.

The group cited the increased rainfall resulting in flooding in such areas as Agusan del Sur, Sulu, Capiz, Cagayan and Albay. Rainfall has likewise increased in Cebu and Palawan, the group added.

"It's only February and yet we're already economically reeling from extreme weather. The establishment of the People's Survival Fund is a huge step towards reducing community vulnerability and building local government resiliency," Constantino said. #

Orginal story here





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