Press Release
September 12, 2011

JPE lauds passage of People's Survival Fund

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile lauded today the approval of the People's Survival Fund (PSF) Bill on Third Reading, which would allow local governments and communities to put in place climate-mitigation practices to lessen the destructive impact of natural disasters.

"Every year, lack of funding seems to be the main deterrent to solving our country's problems in dealing with the effects of climate change," Enrile said.

Stressing that "the PSF is a fund that intends to provide incentives for early adaptation measures by dedicating finances for local resilience-building needs," Enrile said he believed "the sooner the People's Survival Fund is approved by the House and the sooner it is enacted into law, the earlier the government will be able to implement policies and reforms geared towards building a country that is not only climate-resilient but economically sound as well."

The PSF bill is principally sponsored by Enrile and is co-sponsored by Senators Loren Lagarda, Ralph G. Recto, Franklin M. Drilon and Manuel "Lito" M. Lapid.

Earlier, Enrile pointed out that government intervention on climate change and disaster risk reduction should be "given more importance" to reflect prevailing conditions in the country.

Enrile said recent rains that inundated major parts of Visayas and in Mindanao not only caused loss of lives and destruction to property, but also destroyed sources of livelihood. "Adaptation finance should always be seen as an investment, and not a cost," he added.

The bill was unanimously approved after consideration of Drilon's amendment to appropriate the amount of P1 billion annually to be used for the fund under the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

The People's Survival Fund, which aims to strengthen the Climate Change Act of 2009, is a special trust fund for the financing of adaptation programs and projects based on climate change action plans of local government units and communities. Private donations, if any, shall be exempted from donor's tax.

Among the uses of the fund stated in Section 20 of the proposed measure are adaptation activities in the areas of water resources management, land management, agriculture and fisheries, health, infrastructure development, fragile ecosystems including mountainous ecosystems, and integrated coastal zone management.

According to the authors of the bill, the PSF aims to improve the monitoring of diseases triggered by climate change and in the same vein, improving the country's disease control and prevention measures and at the same time improve the country's forecasting and early warning systems as part of disaster-preparedness measures for climate related hazards, among others.

Under the bill, the Fund will be managed by a PSF Board composed by one commissioner coming from the Climate Change Commission, the Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, the National Economic and Development Authority and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, together with representatives from government financial institutions, the business sector and non-government organizations.

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