Climate emergency, the CBMS, and the vulnerable
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero-Ballescas (The Freeman) - July 18, 2019 - 12:00am

The sun started to appear in Cebu City yesterday noon but the strong winds remained, a clear reminder that Typhoon Falcon was still in the Philippines.

Hopefully, no casualties will be reported. Already, news has been posted about damage to resources and property.

Floods have hit many parts of the country. If Boracay got flooded despite being a priority area for huge government funding support, what about other vulnerable areas in the country which had not received any attention or aid at all?

India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan have also reported deaths due to heavy monsoon rains that swept homes and caused floods and landslides.

Strong earthquakes have also been recorded in several parts of the world, including California, Indonesia, and in several parts of Mindanao.

Should the Philippines declare a climate emergency? This does not only involve “reducing carbon emissions on a local scale but also raising awareness about climate change.”

Heeding the alert raised by the United Nations that “we could have just 11 years left to limit a climate change catastrophe, “ there are about “799 jurisdictions in 17 countries that have declared a climate emergency. Populations covered by jurisdictions that have declared a climate emergency amount to 141 million citizens, with 43 million of these living in the United Kingdom. This means in Britain now roughly 64 per cent of the population lives in areas that have declared a climate emergency. In New Zealand, the percentage is even higher: 70 per cent of the population. It’s 23 per cent in Switzerland, and 16 per cent in Spain.”

“At national level, the Welsh Government, the First Minister of Scotland, and the Irish government have made climate emergency declarations, and on 1 May 2019, the UK Labour Party got unanimous support for a non-binding motion in favour of a climate emergency declaration in the House of Commons, making Britain the first country in the world where a bipartisan parliament has declared a climate emergency. The Parliament of Portugal declared a climate emergency on 7 June 2019, and the Canadian House of Commons followed on 17 June.”

Disasters resulting from climate change, if not effectively and pro-actively prepared for and mitigated, can lead to danger, damage, and deaths. Those most adversely affected by disasters are the vulnerable sectors, women and children, the elderly, the persons with disabilities, and the millions of poor.

We have sounded off the alert and will continue to call for well prepared and effective disaster reduction and mitigation management teams and networks to be present at all levels, from sitios, communities, to towns and cities, provinces, regions and the whole nation.

We hope that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will have included in its Community Based Monitoring System (CBMS) gender and PWD-sensitive disaster-related information as well.

A very powerful tool, the “CBMS is a poverty monitoring system that collects household and barangay information. It seeks to determine the nature and extent of poverty in the locality as well as to know who the poor are, where they are and why they are poor.”

“The data collected can be used by the LGUs as inputs in the formulation of development plans and poverty reduction programs not just in the municipal level but also at the barangay level.”

We hope the CBMS can capture the multidimensionality of poverty with the economic status of individuals, families and communities linked to demographic, health, education, housing and other welfare conditions. To reiterate, we hope the CBMS includes household level gender and PWD-sensitive disaster-related information to identify and protect our country’s most vulnerable.

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