Citing need for inclusivity, climate change body revamps expert panel

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Citing need for inclusivity, climate change body revamps expert panel
An aerial view shows destroyed and flooded houses after super Typhoon Goni hit the town of Malinao, Albay province, south of Manila on November 1, 2020.
AFP / Charism Sayat

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 5:31 p.m.) — The Climate Change Commission is replacing its panel of climate experts in a move it says is meant to improve regional and sectoral representation in the body.

The CCC announced on Wednesday its call for nominations for the National Panel of Technical Experts (NPTE), which is tasked to provide the commission technical advice in climate science and technologies.

The panel also recommends best practices for risk assessment and enhancement of the adaptive capacity of the vulnerable population to climate impacts.

“With the objective of ensuring institutional, regional, and sectoral representation in its composition with special consideration for gender balance, the Climate Change Commission believes that it is an opportune time to call for new nominations,” CCC’s Information and Knowledge Management Division told Philstar.com in an email exchange Friday. 

The deadline for the submission of nomination is on July 15, only a week after the call was announced.

A scientist familiar with the NPTE and who approached Philstar.com about the looming reconstitution of the panel said it "already gender-balanced" but acknowledged that there could be more more members from Visayas and Mindanao.

"The question there is, won't that compromise quality? I'm sorry to say that the bulk of high-level climate work is really concentrated in Luzon."

The source initially raised the alarm over the members of the NPTE being dismissed "unceremoniously", adding the period of nomination for the new members of the new panel is short.

Asked to confirm the supposed move to replace the members of the panel, Dr. Carlos Primo David, NTPE chair, said he had heard about it but that, as of July 7, "there is no resolution that has been signed [or] passed insinuating this."

Current members

The NPTE was created in accordance with Republic Act 9729, or the Climate Change Act of 2009. The panel was constituted in 2015 with the appointment of 14 members.

CCC said all members were reappointed in 2017, while 13 were reappointed in 2019.

Aside from David, the panel comprises:

  • Leoncio Amadore – climate science and Earth science
  • Leandro Buendia – greenhouse gas inventory (agriculture and land use, land use change and forestry)
  • Rex Victor Cruz – environment and ecology
  • Laura David – oceanography
  • Felino Lansigan – environment and ecology
  • Rodel Lasco – environment and ecology
  • Glenn Roy Paraso – health
  • Rosa Perez – meteorology
  • Juan Pulhin – environment and ecology
  • Fernando Siringan – Earth science and environment
  • Lourdes Tibig – meteorology
  • Jose Ramon Villarin – climate science

The appointment of the current members was renewed though the commission’s Resolution 2020-001. Their term would have ended in 2022.

"Once the nomination process is completed and a new set of experts are appointed, the services of the outgoing set of experts will naturally end," CCC said.

“The commission views it timely and beneficial to reconstitute new members representing various sectors related to climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as experts from the three major island groups of the country, to further strengthen regional and sectoral climate interventions,” it added.

In a statement, NGO network Aksyon Klima Pilipinas commended the current members of the panel for their “reputable expertise, tremendous track records in their respective fields, and their significant contributions to building a scientific foundation for climate action in the Philippines.”

It said it expects the current NPTE members will have an option to renew their services “as deemed relevant respective of the climate risks.”


Aksyon Klima Pilipinas stressed inclusivity must be reflected in numerous aspects once the NPTE is reconstituted.

“We call on the CCC to ensure that there will be sectoral representation in the NPTE including indigenous peoples, grassroot movements, CSOs, young people, women and local communities who have tremendous knowledge and skills in local climate action as duly recognized by the Paris Agreement, but who, on the other hand, are likely to lack access or opportunities to earn a credible academic reputation.”

The CCC is tasked to coordinate and evaluate the government's programs and action plans on climate change. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, a former environment secretary, was named the chairperson-designate of the commission. 

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