Press Release
August 10, 2010

"State of the Climate" - Sen Loren Legarda

Senator Loren Legarda in her "State of the Climate" privilege speech today called for the synchronized implementation of the following laws - Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Climate Change Act of 2009 and the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010;

"Never before in history have humans proactively worked together to avert a global catastrophe, as what we now attempt to achieve with the threatening challenge of climate change."

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Climate change asserted, "Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger is impossible to achieve without taking extensive measures to minimize the impacts of recurring floods, droughts, and other hazards that push Filipinos back into poverty. "

"It is time to recognize that disasters, turbocharged by a changing climate, have undone years of development gains, and that unsound and short-sighted development practices themselves are playing a significant role in worsening disaster risk, " Legarda cautioned.

"We need to improve our scientific and technical capacity to forecast the shifting hazards and their links to disasters. "

"I strongly urge local leaders to drive and push for environmental protection and energy initiatives in their respective jurisdiction and the private sector to invest in new technologies, adopt energy efficiency measures and help their local communities adapt to climate change."

"The looming water crisis is the result of a combination of rapid population growth, pollution, the destruction and mismanagement of freshwater resources, and climate change."

"The scientific and research community should prioritize focusing on risk science and innovation to help us prepare for localized impact assessments."

Legarda also called on members of the academe to share practical knowledge to their communities and to teach our youth the urgency and importance of climate change action.

Legarda cited several priority bills she filed this 15th Congress as solutions to the impact of climate change:

1. P. S. Resolution No., 45 urging the Department of Public Works and Highways to implement a 21-year-old law, Republic Act No. 6716, or the Rainwater and Spring Development Act of 1989. Why has the DPWH not constructed wells and rainwater collectors, developed springs and rehabilitated existing water wells in all barangays during the last 21 years?

2. Senate Bill No. 1406 or the PAGASA Modernization Act of 2010, will give the agency PhP5 billion for the acquisition of modern equipment and communication systems, providing for the necessary information requirements.

3. P. S. Resolution No.7 resolution proposing that the Metro Manila Development Agency (MMDA) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) implement a comprehensive river rehabilitation program in order to recover the length, width and depth of our rivers, and promote better water flow along our major tributaries to prevent flooding.

4. Senate Bill No. 6 Barangay Greening and Forest Land Rehabilitation Act, which empowers local officials as frontliners to advance the greening, rehabilitation and protection of the different forest lands in our country. This shall be a priority adaptation strategy that will be implemented from the provincial down to the barangay level.

"Based on a study by the Asian Development Bank on the economics of climate change, the country stands to lose 6% of its GDP annually by 2100 if it disregards climate change risks. However, this same study found that if the Philippines invests 0.5% of its GDP by 2020 in climate change adaptation, it can avert losses of up to 4% of its GDP by 2100 -- clearly a short term investment with a long term eight-fold gain."

"The task before us can no longer be ignored. The time for action is now. The Philippines is a climate hotspot, ranking 12th of the most number of deaths because of disasters."

" If we change our individual attitudes and actions to generate awareness, build the critical mass needed to influence political will, we can avert these challenges and together chart humanity's path to a safer tomorrow, " Legarda concluded.

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