Press Release
August 16, 2015


The impact of climate change is putting a bigger burden on the government's resources as extreme weather events continue to create a new demographic of poor Filipinos, Senator Grace Poe said.

Poe said at least 12 million Filipinos are at risk of the hazards brought about by storms and floods, the second biggest population of at-risk people in the Asia Pacific region.

From 1998 to 2009, the country has lost at least $24 billion in GDP value due to the impact of climate change, the senator said, citing a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

"Extreme weather conditions destroy not just people's homes but also their sources of food and livelihood. With every storm that passes, more people are displaced, more people go hungry, more lose their livelihood," Poe said.

"Climate change just keeps creating a new set of poor Filipinos, so we have to mitigate its impact," she said.

The Philippines ranks fifth in the world among countries most affected by extreme weather events from 1994 to 2013, according to the 2015 Long-Term Climate Risk Index prepared by Germanwatch, an environmental organization that analyzes the quantified impacts of extreme weather events.

Last month, more than 20,000 people were affected by floods in Central Mindanao. Damage to agriculture and infrastructure in South Cotabato alone were estimated at P109 million.

The Philippines' annual mean temperature is expected to increase by 0.9 to 1.1 degrees Celsius by 2020, and 1.8-2.2 degrees Celsius by 2050.

A 1-degree change in temperature will cause a 10 to 15 percent drop in agricultural production, experts say. On the other hand, the increase in rainfall volume, which the Philippines is experiencing now, causes more frequent landslides and floods that will also be damaging to crops.

"Either way, farmers, who are already among the poorest in the country, will suffer a significant decrease in crop yield. And with the Philippines' growing population, food will become even more unaffordable for those who are already struggling," the senator said.

Poe urged greater private sector involvement in helping build the resilience of at-risk communities and coming up with sustainable adaptation and mitigation initiatives.

"Climate change affects us all, whether you feel it now or not. While the government builds institutional capacity to tackle the issue, we should all do our part in increasing awareness and supporting adaptation and mitigation efforts," Poe said.

In the last four decades, the Philippines has been hit by more tropical cyclones than any other country in the world, except China. Around 20 typhoons enter the country yearly.

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