Climate change exec quits, eyes Congress seat

Alexis Romero - Associated Press

MANILA, Philippines - Climate Change Commission Vice Chairman Lucille Sering has stepped down from her post to run for Congress in the second district of Surigao del Norte.

Climate Change Commission Assistant Secretary Joy Goco said Sering submitted her resignation letter to President Aquino last month. The President has yet to appoint a new climate chief.

Goco said the resignation would not cause drastic changes in the commission’s activities.

Sering’s resignation came two months before the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris. The conference will gather representatives from various countries to craft a deal that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming to below two degrees Celsius.

Sering, however, was able to supervise the completion of the Philippines’ intended nationally determined contribution (INDC), which outlines the measures that the country plans to do to help mitigate the impact of climate change.

Under the INDC, the Philippines will cut carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030 if it gets assistance like financial resources, technology development and transfer and capability building.

The Philippines, one of the countries most vulnerable to disasters, submitted its INDC to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat last month.

Sering, a member of the Liberal Party, assumed the post of Climate Change Commission chief in 2010.

Before entering government service, Sering was associate dean of the San Sebastian College of Law. She also taught environmental law and banking and finance subjects.

In 2007, Sering was appointed undersecretary for administration, finance and legal of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

She was a pioneer member of the Climate Change Commission, which was formed by the Climate Change Act enacted in 2009.

Surigao del Norte Second District Rep. Francisco Matugas, LP provincial campaign manager, said the people clamored for the return of Sering to the province.

Sering is the daughter of the late Surigao del Norte governor Jose Sering, an uncle of Governor Sol Matugas.

Matugas said Sering and the other local LP bets would attend mass at the St. Nicholas de Tolentino Cathedral and file their certificates of candidacy today.

Apart from Sering and re-electionist Gov. Matugas, the other LP candidates that would file their COCs include re-electionist Vice Gov. Arturo Carlos Egay Jr. and Surigao del Norte First District candidate for congressman Francisco Jose Forcadilla Matugas.

Candidates for board member for Surigao del Norte’s First District are re-electionist Mamerto Galanida, Leonila Gorgolon, Edgar Andanar, Nathaniel Plaza and Constantino Navarro IV.

Candidates for board member for the province’s Second District are Fernando Larong, Melva Garcia, Ronald Eupena, Charlo Paredes and Eddie Gokiangkee Jr.

Sen. Loren Legarda, chairman of the Senate finance committee, vowed to pass a climate-sensitive budget for 2016 in a bid to make sure that the country will be ready against any kind of disaster that may strike next year.

“I am integrating all my advocacies in the P3.002-trillion budget of government, which will be a climate-sensitive and disaster-resilient budget,” Legarda said at the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay yesterday.

Legarda said she urged Sering to review the current proposals to make sure that the agencies are ready for the impact of climate change, which had become a worldwide concern.

Legarda said the P129 billion for climate change projects or four percent of the P3-trillion national budget is not enough.

She noted that the budget also includes P7 billion allocated by the Department of Public Works and Highways for roads.

“I will find out how much of the department’s allocation has been climate adoptive, meaning, our schools, do you have water catchments?” she asked, citing the 1989 Rainwater Collection Act that mandates every barangay to have water catchment facilities.

In the same forum, Legarda also reiterated what she said during the 12th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Energy Ministers’ Meeting in Cebu the other day on the need to support green projects in a bid to address rapid urbanization. – With Christina Mendez, Ben Serrano












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