Depensa! campaign pushes for climate change finance

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/18 Nov) – Climate Change finance took center stage during today’s launching of the Depensa! Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCA-DRR) campaign here.

Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III said that a new law has to be passed in order to fund climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in the grassroots communities.

“The Climate Change Act of 2009 or RA 9729 as it is written is not enough. It does carry finance provisions and without finance, sometimes the best initiatives go for naught,” Tañada, the fourth district representative of Quezon province, said.

He had filed House Bill 3228 or the law creating the People’s Survival Fund. Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile also filed a counterpart bill in the Senate.

The bill, which will establish a P2-billion fund for CCA and DRR projects in the local communities to be coursed through the local government units, will be sourced from domestic public funds as well as international public finance.

Among the domestic sources of the fund will be from 10 percent of the cash dividends of government owned and controlled corporations, a portion of the proceeds of carbon trading through the clean development mechanism set-up by the Kyoto Protocol and a portion of the motor vehicle users charge.

Surigao del Norte Gov. Sol Matugas said that the fund could be further bolstered by increasing the share of the national wealth or the proceeds from extractive industries like mining, logging and oil production of the local governments.

Currently, one percent of the national wealth is shared by the national and local governments, with 60 percent of it going to the national government and the 40 percent going to the host communities through their local government unit.

Matugas said that this should be reversed with 80 percent going to the LGU and 20 percent going to the national coffers. Tañada said that they consider this proposal in the deliberations of the PSF Bill.

Philippines is identified as highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. Impacts to developing countries are usually absorbed by those who have not contributed to the cause of climate change.

From 1990 – 2008, the average annual damage by typhoons in the country is P15.3 billion. The top nine typhoons in this period account for P106.99 billion.

In 2009, with typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, the damage was P40.65 billion. This year, with typhoon Juan alone, damage was estimated at P11.53 billion.

Climate scientists have predicted more frequent and severe extreme weather events like droughts (El Niño), above normal rainfall (La Niña) and stronger tropical typhoons, among others.

“When there are typhoons, the funds for agriculture, health, education are diverted to calamity response and rehabilitation, ruining local development plans,” Tañada added.

“Our action on climate change is defense, defense for our livelihood and for the environment. To defend our people against climate change impacts, we should support the Peoples Survival Fund Bill,” Tañada said. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin / MindaNews)