The floodings in the National Capital Region and nearby provinces, caused, not by any storm, but by days of incessant rains left everyone stunned.
“It’s climate change, a creeping disaster, we cannot do anything about it,” we hear those in the know say.
But Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” R. Tañada III sees that something can still be done. In fact, he puts forward some hope for climate change adaptation and resiliency of communities, with the eventual enactment into law of his authored bill, House Bill 6235, with its counterpart, Senate Bill 2811 sponsored by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. Called the People’s Survival Fund (PSF), the bill has already gone through the legislative wringer, having passed both Houses of Congress and the Bicam Report, likewise passed by both Chambers. It is now transmitted in Malacanang for the President’s action.
“Climate change adaptive cities are very important especially for vulnerable countries like the Philippines. Likewise, marginalized farmers and fisherfolks must be able to adopt to prolonged droughts, incessant rains that submerge farms fin floodwaters for weeks, and rising sea levels and temperature,” Tanada said.
Quoting from the website of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, a key partner in pushing the measure in the legislature, “(T)he PSF Bill seeks to buff-up Republic Act No.9729 or the Climate Change Act of 2009 by “financially empowering” the Climate Change Commission in financing “local” climate change adaptation and mitigation projects. Establishing PSF will push for the realization of the pressing need to localize and integrate identified national strategies and frameworks on climate talks to communities in addressing the adverse effects of climate change.”
“Apart from the P1 billion fund that is replenishable yearly, what is key in this measure is it creates incentives for local communities to directly access funds that will finance climate change adaptive projects, devoid of the politicized trickle-down mechanism that has long plagued funding systems. Further, it forces leaders to grapple with long-term plans such as a urban planning and land use, rather than quick-gestation, high impact projects that just fits into a three-year term, good enough for re-election,” the Quezon legislator said.
People’s organizations and civil society groups have much to hope for should this bill become law. Rather than shout to the heavens for non-action of those in government, they can now take action themselves, proposing small but relevant projects like small water impoundment, use of seeds that are drought or flood resistant, establishing early warning systems, having climate change insurance.