Climate Initative in the Philippines

Here’s a press release on a proposal to address climate issues in the Philippines. wcgb

OFFICE OF SEN. LOREN LEGARDA

RM.209, Senate of the Philippines, GSIS Bldg. Pasay City

www.lorenlegarda.com.ph

Press Release Pls. refer to: Perla Leoncio

04 September 2009                                                                      09285046010

Act now on climate change-Loren

Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate Oversight Committee on Climate Change, yesterday urged the government to act “now” on climate change which is already disrupting the lives of Filipino farmers and families living in the rural areas.

Loren cited a news report stating that farmers in Nueva Ecija, a rice-producing province, had suffered huge losses in rice harvests because of the change in the weather cycle in March and April.

The farmers in the cities of Muñoz, San Jose and Cabanatuan and Guimba towns said that unexpected rains in March and April had damaged their rice crops.

Loren also cited an ADB study that at the end of this century crop yield potential in Asia is projected to decline by 19% and in the Philippines by 75%.

“We are therefore among the nation’s most threatened by climate change,” said Loren, author and sponsor of the “Climate Change Act of 2009,” which was already passed in the Senate and in the Lower House.

Loren, who is also chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, said the Climate Change Act “aims to mainstream climate change into policy formulation, development planning, and poverty reduction programs.”

To perform these objectives, the measures mandates the creation of a Climate Change Commission, to be headed by the President, that shall be the sole policy-making body of the government tasked to coordinate, monitor and evaluate the programs and action plans of the government relating to climate change.

This Commission will be empowered to formulate a Framework Strategy on Climate Change to serve as the basis for a program for climate change planning, research and development, extension, and monitoring of activities to protect vulnerable communities.

In line with the national plan, each LGU shall formulate its own Local Climate Change Action Plan. Local governments will be in the frontline in the formulation, planning and implementation of climate change action plans in their respective areas.

The national government shall also extend technical and financial assistance to LGUs for the accomplishment of their Climate Change Action Plans. Local governments may also appropriate and use their funds from their Internal Revenue allotment to implement their local plans.

“We must enhance rural livelihoods which 75% of the poor depend on for their subsistence,” Loren said. “One tested strategy is to  improve agricultural productivity and support our farmers better.  This also means addressing the issues akin to rural poverty – such as inequity in land distribution, lack of access to better seeds and irrigation technology, the lack of economic diversification, weak markets and trade barriers, and the lack of capacity to absorb and to recover from disaster losses.”

Senator Legarda, as the chair of the Senate Oversight Committee on Climate Change and the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization, will conduct a hearing on climate change and its effects on agriculture and fisheries.

This will provide her committees with the additional data needed to firm up legislative initiatives to combat climate change challenges, Loren declared.

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