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MANILA, Philippines - The chairperson of the Senate Committee on Climate Change and a major nongovernment organization inspired by Al Gore’s climate reality project have one message for President Aquino: Sign into law the bill for a P1-billion People’s Survival Fund (PSF).
Sen. Loren Legarda made the pitch in a radio interview Sunday, noting that Congress had approved the bill and transmitted the same to Malacanang several weeks ago. Lead author of the bill was Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
Separately, the private group The Climate Reality Project (TCRP), noting that floods and record rain were obviously “the new normal,” said signing the bill into law would allow for quick implementation of mitigating measures.
"We therefore, urge President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III to immediately sign the People's Survival Fund Bill into law which has been approved by the House of Representatives and Senate before it's too late," said TCRP Climate Leader and Mariduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MACEC) Executive Director Miguel Magalang.
Magalang also said that while mitigating measures are to be implemented, adaptation strategies must be localized and done comprehensively with assured capacity building and financing.
The PSF aims to finance adaptation programs and projects that are directly supportive of the objectives enumerated in the Climate Change Action Plans of local government units and communities. Hence, strengthening the Climate Change Act of 2009 by providing predictable, adequate, continuous and untied financing for local climate adaptation.
Legarda said the measure was transmitted to Malacanang on July 25.
“That was passed, but [the President] needs to sign it. I don’t know what’s keeping him from signing it,” she said.
In a separate interview, the executive director of the policy think tank Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, Red Constantino, said: "Both chambers of Congress passed this measure in a year and a half. The legislature understands the threat of climate change and the measures needed to protect communities at the frontline of crisis. Only one signature is needed to enact the PSF into law. It's time for the Chief Executive to respond with equal urgency by signing the PSF."
TCRP, which was founded and chaired by Al Gore, Nobel Laureate and former Vice President of the United States, has more than 5 million members and supporters worldwide.
Extreme weather conditions are becoming more evident as more heat is trapped by the thickening of the atmosphere due to high concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. As temperatures increase, more water is evaporated from the oceans into the sky.
TCRP leaders in the Philippines stressed that the current flooding in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces is only a prelude to more complex hazards and disaster that may happen in various parts of the country. “This is a real challenge for all local government units to prioritize serious and long-term solutions to reduce the vulnerabilities of communities,” they said.
With Karl John Reyes, InterAksyon.com