Senator Loren Legarda called President Aquino’s signing into law of the People’s Survival Fund bill a triumph for Filipinos and a concrete move towards a disaster-resilient Philippines.
“The enactment of amendments to the Climate Change Act of 2009, primarily the creation of the People’s Survival Fund (PSF), strengthens the three-year-old law by helping achieve its objectives through provision of funds to local governments and communities for their climate change adaptation programs. As we have seen clearly over the past few weeks, there is a pressing need to financially support disaster prevention efforts of local government units. The President’s approval of the PSF affirms our nation’s commitment to building communities’ resilience to disasters,” she said.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, principal author and sponsor of the Climate Change Act of 2009, and principal sponsor of the amendatory measure to the climate law, said that Congress approved the PSF bill in June. It was immediately transmitted to President Aquino who signed the law last Friday, August 17.
The PSF is a special fund in the National Treasury—in the amount of one billion pesos that will be appropriated annually under the General Appropriations Act—for the financing of adaptation programs and projects based on the National Strategic Framework on Climate Change. The fund may also be augmented by donations, endowments, grants and contributions.
“The degradation of our environment, coupled with the effects of climate change, such as heavy monsoon rains, prolonged droughts, and other extreme weather events, places us on a highly precarious position and endangers the lives of our citizens. The PSF will help local governments’ adaptation activities, such as in the areas of land and water resources management, agriculture and fisheries, health, infrastructure development, and natural ecosystems,” she explained.
“This will also support the improvement of the monitoring, controlling and prevention of diseases triggered by climate change, establishment of forecasting and early warning systems, and strengthening institutional development, for local governments, for preventive measures, planning, preparedness and management of impacts relating to climate change,” she added.
Legarda, the United Nations Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction for Asia-Pacific, is also responsible for crafting and sponsoring several environmental laws like the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Awareness Education Act, the Renewable Energy Act, the Solid Waste Management Act, and the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.
“We are called upon by the Filipino people to safeguard them against the death, destruction, and poverty trap caused by disasters. There is no substitute for national and local government programs and budgets that are climate change-adaptive. The PSF will allow us to pole-vault toward ensuring disaster- and climate change-resilient communities,” Legarda concluded.
The amendatory law to the Climate Change Act of 2009, authored by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Loren Legarda, also mandates the Department of Budget and Management to undertake the formulation of the annual government budget in a way that ensures the appropriate prioritization and allocation of funds to support climate change-related programs and projects.***