Press Release
April 22, 2010

Climate change is a test of leadership - Legarda

On Earth Day, NP-NPC-LDP vice presidential bet Loren Legarda challenged the country's local and national officials to show leadership in addressing the ill effects of climate change - stronger typhoons, heavier rains and more devastating droughts.

"Given the urgency posed by climate change, decisive action needs to be taken now from the national down to the grassroots level. Earth Day is a reminder of that," said Legarda, lamenting on the vulnerability of poor rural families dependent on rain-fed agriculture to the long hot summer brought about by El Nino.

The total damage to agriculture reported as of February 8 included P1.05 billion worth of corn, P343 million worth of rice and P1.39 million worth of high-value crops.

Legarda adds, "Poor and indebted households have little or no surplus capacity to absorb crop losses and to recover. But what we can do is implement measures to help them avert or minimize these losses - an agricultural adaptation program that will ensure more investments in agricultural research and infrastructure, improved water governance and land use policies, better forecasting tools and early warning systems and a strengthened extension system that will assist farmers to achieve economic diversification and access to credit."

"Disasters have been a fact of life for Filipinos but we must also realize the fact that we ourselves, especially our decision and policy-makers, shape disaster risks in our midst --by the way we change our environment and by the way we choose to live in it," Legarda stresses. She likewise challenged the national government to fully translate the Climate Change Act of 2009, a policy integrating climate change in the country's poverty-reduction strategies, into concrete local actions and measurable gains for the people.

"I urge leaders, especially those running for higher office this May, to reveal their climate change adaptation agenda. And I call on voters to choose leaders who have the vision and the will to take early action on this climate crisis," Legarda said.

Legarda, principal author and sponsor of the Philippine Climate Change Act of 2009, is the appointed United Nations Regional Champion on Disaster Risk Reduction for Asia and the Pacific and serves as the Chairperson of the Committees on Agriculture and Food, Health and Demography and Climate Change in the Philippine Senate.

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