Press Release
July 22, 2011

Loren to PNoy: Lead the Road to Climate Resilience

Senator Loren Legarda renewed her call for President Aquino to place disaster prevention and climate change adaptation high on the list of national government programs, which will be encompassed in the forthcoming State of the Nation Address.

"The President's SONA should fuse flagship programs that seek to build our resilience as a nation against the challenges ahead - worsening disasters and devastating climate change impacts. I urge PNoy to lead the road to climate resilience and present to us a comprehensive program that will address the ill effects of climate change on health, hunger and malnutrition, agriculture and fisheries, natural resources and energy," said Legarda.

Asserting that climate change clearly impacts heavily on most, if not all, economic undertakings, from food production to meeting growth targets, Legarda stressed that "the time is ripe for PNoy to assume his role as the Chairperson of the Climate Change Commission and convene it immediately for the approval of the National Climate Change Action Plan."

Senator Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, noted that Executive Order No. 43, signed by PNoy, created a Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Cabinet Cluster to pursue the adoption of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures by local government units and their respective communities, national government agencies, and the general public; and ensure that these are incorporated in their annual work plans and budgets.

"We need to see this cluster in action as an effective strategy to prepare for climate risks and recover from past disasters," expressed Legarda, having doubts if the country has fully recovered from the $14-billion dollars worth of devastation caused by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng two years ago.

"I hope that the reconstruction attempts of the previous administration were pursued after the transition into the new administration and that the 2011 national government budget lines allocated for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation were prudently utilized," Legarda added.

Under the 2011 General Appropriations Bill, roughly P44.8-billion is allotted for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction measures. This translates to 2.72% of the total national budget, surpassing the one percent minimum requirement put forth in the 2010 Manila Call for Action, which was forged by Asian Parliamentarians at the 2010 consultative meeting organized by Sen. Legarda and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

The identified budget lines were appropriated to programs for research, biodiversity conservation, sustainable agriculture, fisheries and forestry, disaster risk reduction and management, and renewable energy.

"No disasters would arise from natural hazards if we submit to the discipline of climate risk-sensitive development planning, budgeting, and financial management. I urge PNoy to propose a national government budget for 2012 that anticipates and can withstand the impacts and economic stress brought about by stronger typhoons, heavier rains, prolonged droughts and other extreme weather events," Legarda concluded.

Sen. Legarda, in collaboration with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, will hold the national launch of the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction: Revealing Risk, Redefining Development on Tuesday, 26 July 2011, 10:00 a.m. at the Senate of the Philippines.

Following the President's SONA, it will serve as a forum to examine any existing gaps in the government's disaster prevention, mitigation, and preparedness measures, and to propose appropriate priority interventions.

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