Press Release
September 24, 2010

Enrile calls for national survival agenda
as nation marks Typhoon Ondoy anniversary

Manila, September 24 -- Marking the first anniversary of Typhoon Ondoy, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile today issued a call for the formation of a national survival agenda anchored on public finance and adaptation to climate change.

"We know about the terrible effects of climate change and we are aware that its impacts on the Philippines will worsen. Yet it is simply not enough to just name the problem," said Enrile. "We need to identify long-term solutions to the climate crisis along with the means to fund programs that will allow our people to cope with the rapidly and dangerously changing climate," Enrile said.

Enrile called for the retooling of the national budget to address the vulnerabilities of Filipino communities facing the projected increase in severity and frequency of extreme weather events. The Senate President said he is studying, and will file, a bill "that will create a survival fund for local governments in anticipation of worsening impacts such as rising sea levels, intense flooding and extreme precipitation."

Enrile said the bill he will file is focused on supporting localities "particularly exposed to the ravages of global warming. "Local Government Units are the first line of defense of hapless communities facing the effects of climate change. LGUs need predictable, long-term and directly accessible sources of public finance that can fund their climate change adaptation programs."

"We must do everything we can to make sure that our communities will be better prepared to face calamities which may once again strike the country. We don't want a repeat of Ondoy. We want to protect lives and our communities."

Enrile committed to take the lead in mainstreaming climate change in the budget, noting that the 'budget season' of Congress has already begun.

Following through on his campaign to arrest what he called "the governance chaos reigning over the administration of climate finance that has entered the country's coffers," Enrile took to task institutions and rich country governments for taking advantage of climate-related disasters that have befallen the country.

"Victims of Ondoy need urgent assistance, but I wonder why it had to come in the form of loans, such as the $258 million loan the World Bank approved last May? Since the biggest shareholders of the World Bank are also the planet's biggest climate polluters, shouldn't the assistance have come in the form of a grant, or better yet, as compensation? Long after the flood waters from the typhoon have receded, the country's poor will be left flooded with debt," Enrile said.

Enrile said climate change-related finance is neither aid nor charity. "This is an issue of reparations. Developed countries owe a climate debt to impoverished nations such as the Philippines," Enrile said.

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