P200-million grants given to 4 provinces for climate resilience
Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - March 15, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government is providing about P200 million in grants to four provinces this month to help their communities become resilient to the impact of climate change. 

Climate Change Commission (CCC) secretary Emmanuel de Guzman and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III led last week the signing of the financial agreement between the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) board and the mayors of Del Carmen, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte; Lanuza, Surigao del Sur; Gerona, Tarlac; and San Francisco, Camotes Island, Cebu.

The PSF board, chaired by the Department of Finance, is set to release this month the first four grants, amounting to P192 million. 

“Climate resilience is central to the government’s agenda, thanks to the strong leadership of President Duterte, Sen. Loren Legarda, and Secretary Carlos Dominguez,” De Guzman said. 

De Guzman said nine more project proposals in the pipeline totaling P979 million will be under consideration in the next PSF board meeting set this June.

“With the first funding releases underway, we expect demand for the PSF to grow. The CCC will work closely with Senator Legarda, chairperson of the Senate committees on climate change and finance and author of the Climate Change Act, to ensure more funds are made available in 2019,” De Guzman said.

Del Carmen Mayor Alfredo Coro II lamented the local government’s inability to financially assist the town’s farmers and fisherfolk whose livelihoods are affected annually by disasters triggered by climate change. 

“The livelihoods of our farmers and fisherfolk grow more vulnerable each year that passes without adequate intervention from local and national government,” Coro said. 

“Through the PSF, we can now dramatically enhance our town’s food security by ensuring that the full life cycle of food production is resilient to climate change,” he said.

Lanuza Mayor Salvacion Saloma-Azarcon, meanwhile, said the grants couldn’t have come at a better time, noting that her town’s economy depends on its forests, watersheds and mangroves, “which are threatened by worsening climate change.” 

“Nothing less than a comprehensive ridge-to-reef approach will do,” she said.

Gerona Mayor Eloy Eclar said the grant would help improve the management of water resources in the face of increasing severity and frequency of climate-induced drought and flooding. 

San Francisco Mayor Aly Arquillano of Camotes Island said the PSF grant would help his municipality address its water supply problem caused by saltwater intrusion.

The PSF was established in 2012 through Republic Act No. 10174 to support the climate adaptation action plans of local governments. 

In March last year, President Duterte signed the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change that calls for the reduction of carbon emissions, which have been linked to the occurrence of natural disasters and extreme weather conditions. 

In 2015, the Philippine government submitted to the United Nations the country’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent by 2030.

The carbon dioxide reduction will come from the sectors of energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry.

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