Press Release
October 28, 2009


Speaking at the National Conference on Climate Change Adaptation, Senator Loren Legarda today called for the serious implementation of her landmark legislation that will strengthen our country's efforts in addressing the greatest humanitarian challenge, climate change.

"The passage of the Climate Change Act, could not have come to a time more ideal than today. And I am pleased to be with you again to further discuss this landmark legislation," said Loren who chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change.

The filing of this measure two years ago took inspiration from the Albay Declaration, the outcome document of the First National Conference on Climate Change Adaptation, as it called for "the passage of a policy prioritizing climate change adaptation in the national agenda".

"The ensuing discussions on the threats of climate change to our basic human rights - food, potable water, shelter, decent livelihood and life itself, have occupied us for some time now. In response to these impacts, vulnerable countries like the Philippines should ramp up efforts to enhance the resilience of our people," laments Loren.

She added, "Special attention should be given to the poorest of the poor, who are also the most vulnerable to the scourge of disasters. They are the small farmers, fisherfolk, upland dwellers, urban squatters living on riverbanks, forestlands, seashores, and low-lying areas. Without planning and assistance, more will lose their lives, homes and farms that make up their life's possession. Just a single extreme weather event can derail the achievement of our Millennium Development Goals' target."

"While climate change has recently been at the forefront of international and local discourse, it is perhaps only now that we have seen its devastating impacts," said Loren, citing the consequences of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.

She said it took these two calamities "for us to realize the urgent need to confront the drivers of our vulnerability to disasters and climate change - poor urban governance, vulnerable rural livelihoods and ecosystems decline - in order to save lives and secure livelihoods."

Climate Change Act will build resilience to the impacts of climate change. The Commission on Climate Change 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.

The Climate Change Act mandates the Commission to:

1. Coordinate and synchronize climate change programs of national government agencies;

2. Recommend key development investments in climate-sensitive sectors such as water resources, agriculture, forestry, coastal and marine resources, health, and infrastructure to ensure the achievement of national sustainable development goals;

3. Create an enabling environment that shall promote broader multi-stakeholder participation and integrate climate change mitigation and adaptation;

4. Coordinate and establish a close partnership with the National Disaster Coordinating Council in order to increase efficiency and effectiveness in reducing the people's vulnerability to climate-related disasters; and

5. Formulate the Framework Strategy and Program on Climate Change, the National Climate Change Action Plan and facilitate local action plans.

The Climate Change Act puts the local governments in the frontline of the formulation, planning and implementation of climate change action plans which includes risk reduction, in their respective areas speeding up the capacity building for local adaptation planning, implementation and monitoring of climate change initiatives in vulnerable communities.

Further, the new legislation places disaster risk reduction as the first line of defense against climate change risks. Recognizing that climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction are closely linked and effective disaster risk reduction enhances climate change adaptive capacity, the measure will ensure the integration of disaster risk reduction into policies, programs and initiatives on climate change.

The Climate Change Act, the first in Asia, sums up the country's great resolve to take the issue of climate change very seriously. It goes to show that we value above everything else the welfare of our people through the protection of the world where we all live.

"This law is for us, our children and the generations after them. Ensuring its full implementation is the great challenge and responsibility posed to us all," said Loren.

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