Risk deduction and climate adaptation mainstreamed in MisOr

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/2 March) – The provincial government of Misamis Oriental is integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation (DRR-CC) in its development planning and decision-making.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) said that the province is making efforts to be fully compliant with the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 or RA 10121.

The said law introduces a paradigm shift in disaster response from being reactive to pro-active. Under RA 10121, spending of the 20-percent calamity fund, which was renamed Disaster Risk Reduction fund, is not limited to spending in response to calamities but can be invested in projects that would effect the increased resiliency of disaster vulnerable communities.

Up to 70 percent of this fund can be spent for projects that increase the capacity of communities to respond to calamities, while 30 percent is reserved for disaster response. The unspent calamity fund under the new law can no longer be reverted to the general fund after a fiscal year.

PDRRMC executive officer Teodoro Sabuga-a Jr. said a core group has already been created to pursue the mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation concerns into the development planning and decision-making processes within the provincial government of Misamis Oriental.

Sabuga-a said Gov. Oscar S. Moreno issued an executive order creating a core group tasked to integrate DRR-CCA in the formulation of annual provincial development plan and the provincial annual investment program, in pursuance to the provisions of the Republic Act No. 10121.

The PDRRMC which Moreno chairs is tasked, among others, “to identify, assess and manage the hazard vulnerabilities and risks that may occur” as well as “to formulate and implement a comprehensive and integrated disaster risk reduction and management program” in the locality.

Recently, Northern Mindanao’s Regional Development Council (RDC), during its meeting in Iligan City on February 15, had enjoined all local government units in the region to integrate DRR-CCA in development planning and decision-making.

RDC, which is chaired by Iligan City Mayor Lawrence Ll. Cruz, is supporting the DRR-CCA integration project, which is being undertaken by the National Economic and Development Authority through the Regional Development Coordination Staff in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Australian Agency for

International Development (AusAID).

RDC 10 vice chairperson Leon M. Dacanay Jr. said the provincial governments of Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental and Lanao del Norte have expressed interests on the DRR-CCA integration project, which is being piloted in the provinces of Bukidnon and Camiguin. The DRR-CCA integration project consists of capacity building, organizing, risk assessment and disaster risk assessment integration activities.

In order to strengthen the implementation of RA 10121 and the Climate Act of 2009 or RA 9729, House Bill 3528 or Depensa Bill has been pushed to establish the P2-billion People’s Survival Fund (PSF).

The Depensa bill is aimed at answering climate change adaptation finance issues. If approved, the PSF would augment climate change adaptation financing which the Climate Change Act fails to address.

Climate change adaptation refers to activities and projects that either increases the resiliency of climate change vulnerable communities or reduces their vulnerability to disasters.

Advocates of the Depensa bill say that the DRR fund, formerly known as calamity fund, is too small especially in small municipalities, making them deplete their essential budget for health, education and other social services every time disaster strikes.

The Depensa bill so far has 71 co-authors and has gained popular support in the 15th Congress. Of the seven Cagayan de Oro-based representatives in the 15th Congress, five have co-authored the bill, namely, Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro, 2nd Dist.), Rep. Pedro Unabia (Mis. Or., 2nd Dist.), Rep. Arlene Bag-ao (Akbayan partylist), Rep. Maximo Rodriguez (Abante Mindanao partylist) and Rep. Isidro Q. Lico (Ating Koop partylist). Rep. Bambi Emano (Mis. Or. 1st Dist.) said he supporting the bill. Rep. Benjo Benaldo (Cagayan de Oro, 1st Dist.) has been silent on the legislative measure.

Marked by a long coastline and a mountainous terrain, Misamis Oriental is vulnerable to extreme weather events brought by climate change.

In January 2009, 40,000 people were displaced in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental due to flooding and landslides. A tidal surge on Nov. 2008 caused significant damage on fishing communities in Macajalar Bay. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin / MindaNews)