Press Release
April 25, 2011

Enrile lauds DOF and Climate Commission moves on international
and local finance arena

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile praised today "the collaborative leadership displayed recently by the Department of Finance and the Climate Change Commission on the issue of climate change finance."

Enrile lauded DOF Secretary Cesar Purisima's move to form and lead the Climate Finance Group in the executive branch, which he called "timely and wise."

"The Climate Finance Group needs to get started with the right ambition and sense of urgency. We hope it can cover efforts to establish national risk-transfer and catastrophe insurance mechanisms, review ill-advised climate change loans and secure funding for the country's climate change action plan," Enrile said.

"I am glad Secretary Purisima is giving climate finance his personal attention. The chairmanship of the DOF over the executive's Climate Finance Group is a sign that steps will now be taken to arrest the governance chaos prevailing over the administration of climate finance that has entered country coffers," Enrile said.

The Senate President explained that although the country's priority climate change response should be adaptation, "more money has flowed to mitigatory activities, which is the main responsibility of the world's top polluters. Worse, funds that went to adaptation have come in the form of loans, which is unacceptable."

Enrile said "climate change is an issue of tort. A compensatory framework governs this issue and we need to leverage finance that addresses our country's priorities, not the plans of rich nations."

Enrile filed in October last year Senate Bill 2558, a landmark measure seeking to establish the People's Survival Fund, or the PSF, for local government units and communities. The PSF provides incentives for early climate action from localities, which can tap the fund if it formulates local climate adaptation plans based on vulnerability and development assessments. The PSF can be used by LGUs with coastal communities to address rising sea levels, or to promote agricultural programs resilient to extreme temperatures, severe precipitation or persistent flooding.

Enrile also singled out efforts by Climate Change Commission Vice Chair Mary Ann Lucille Sering, who led negotiations that secured for the Philippines a seat in the Transitional Committee, a body tasked to design the rules of the global Green Climate Fund, or GCF. Established in December last year in the international climate negotiations held in Cancun, Mexico, the GCF is expected to manage at least $100 billion in annual funds pledged by rich countries for climate change adaptation and mitigation activities. The Philippines was formally made a member of the Transitional Committee at the recently concluded Bangkok round of climate talks.

"Membership in the Transitional Committee is vital to the national interest," said Enrile. "With the right design, our vulnerable country will be eligibile to tap the fund. More importantly, we can put in place direct access modalities that lessen the need for financial intermediaries and thus reduce transaction costs."

Enrile said "the collaboration of Secretary Purisima and Secretary Sering is consistent with the kind of leadership demanded by no less than President Noynoy Aquino himself in response to the climate change crisis."

The Senate President called on the DOF and the Climate Change Commission to support the early passage of the PSF "to make sure local communities can keep pace with efforts to mainstream climate change into national operations."

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