Mindanao LGU leaders call for immediate access to adaptation funds;  seek clarity on use of People’s Survival Fund

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Davao City (October 6, 2014) —– Local government leaders from 23 municipalities from Maguindanao, Cotabato, Lanao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, Agusan, and Surigao provinces flocked to Davao City to renew calls to make funding for climate change adaptation immediately available as they prepare to adapt to slow set impacts of climate change and extreme weather events.

In a dialogue conducted today with Climate Change Commission Assistant Secretary Joy Goco, the LGU leaders presented their risk assessments and climate adaptation plans which highlighted current and potential impacts of climate change in the region, as well as emerging adaptation options and initiatives that they plan to undertake to address these.

In a joint manifesto signed by at the 23 LGUs and turned over to the CCC, the LGUs expressed “high hopes on the People’s Survival Fund” and “express our interest and readiness to submit proposals…to the PSF as it should be made available and accessible”.  “The funds (should) go directly and transparently to adaptation and risk reduction projects”,  the declaration further stated.

“We are already reeling from climate change impacts.  Typhooons Sendong and Pablo which both entered our municipality are ominous signs of an inhospitable future.  We are using our meagre funds to adapt to the changes, but we need to do a lot more.  We urge President Aquino to sign the PSF Implementing Rules and Regulations now, so that we can start supporting the adaptation needs of our local communities,” says Mayor Candelario Viola of Municipality of HInatuan in the Province of Surigao del Sur, an LGU which has been cited by the national government for its leadership role in adaptation and risk reduction for two successive years now.

The town of Hinatuan is one of the 17 municipalities which are part of international aid group Oxfam and Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)’s ongoing community adaptation and risk reduction project called Building Resilient and Adaptive Communities and Institutions in Mindanao or BINDS.  BINDS project has facilitated assistance to these municipalities in the conduct of participatory climate and vulnerability assessments, to inform their local adaptation and risk reduction plans, as well as their development plans.

Assistant Sec. Goco said that PSF was part of the 2014 budget but it was unprogrammed fund, which meant that it will get funded if there are savings.  For this year, the national budget has allocated billion pesos so the CCC is working with the PSF Board to develop the guidelines and criteria.  

“The funding that will come from the PSF is not that substantial to insulate the local communities from the inevitable impacts of climate change, but it is a good start,” says Dante Dalabajan Oxfam’s Mindanao Programme Manager.  “The longer it takes for us to support the adaptation needs of the communities, the more expensive they get,” he added.  

President Benigno Aquino has yet to sign the Implementing Rules and Regulations submitted to his Office by the Climate Change Commission as early as May 2013. It has been two years since Congress passed the People’s Survival Fund law or (RA10174) in August 16, 2012.  The law mandates the allocation of at least PHP1 billion annually to the Fund.

Contact: Jed Alegado, Media & Communications Officer, +63928-504-2911

Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organisations working in 94 countries, as part of a global movement for change, to build a future free from the injustice of poverty.  In the Philippines, we work with poor people to sustain their livelihoods, and reduce their risks to natural and human-made disasters and climate change impacts. We strive to enable poor people to have a voice in economic issues affecting them and we support poor women as they lead in transforming unequal social and economic relations. (www.oxfamblogs.org/philippines)

 

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