Press Release
July 25, 2011

Loren Supports Call for P-Noy to be a 'Green President'

On the day of the President's State of the Nation Address (SONA), Senator Loren Legarda echoes the call for President Aquino to be a "Green President," aside from being a "Yellow President," by making Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction - in relation to poverty alleviation - his top priority.

This call was made by the Senator after various groups of lawmakers, environmentalists, indigenous people and other advocates made a similar call on the President urging him to support the passage of pending legislations seeking reforms in the way the country's dwindling natural resources are managed.

In an ambush interview with Senate media today, Senator Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change and United Nations regional champion for disaster risk reduction, said that she expects P-Noy to report on his accomplishments in reducing the impacts of climate change on the country's poor and marginalized sectors.

"I expect to hear from the President his accomplishments in poverty alleviation in relation to disaster risk reduction. What I mean by that is he must report to the people the programs of government to mitigate the effects of disasters that particularly affect the poor sector of our society," Legarda said.

The Senator also reiterated his call on the President to immediately convene the Climate Change Commission for the purpose of considering the National Climate Change Action Plan which should have been out by the end of April.

According to the Climate Change Law (RA 9729), the Climate Change Commission, which is headed by the President as chairman, the Commission shall formulate a National Climate Change Action Plan in accordance with the Framework Strategy and Program on Climate Change (FSPCC) within one year after the formulation of the latter. The FSPCC was approved in April 2010.

Meanwhile, the Senator lauded the speech of Senate President during its opening session of the second regular session for putting on top of his legislative agenda the passage of the People's Survival Fund (PSF) Bill.

Legarda explained that the PSF is a special trust fund for the financing of adaptation programs and projects based on the National Strategic Framework and the National Climate Change Action Plan.

The fund shall be sourced from public sources, foreign or local, including 10 percent from cash dividends declared by all government-owned and controlled corporations; five percent of the proceeds from the sale of certified or verified emissions reduction carbon credits generated from domestic activities; and 10 percent of the monies collected under Republic Act 8794, otherwise known as the Motor Vehicles User's Charge.

"This fund shall be used to support local governments' adaptation activities, such as in the areas of land and water resources management, agriculture and fisheries, health, infrastructure development, and natural ecosystems."

"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," Legarda said.

"There is no substitute for national and local government budget that are climate change-adaptive. It is time to create further progress in our efforts, which will not be sustainable if resources are provided in bits and pieces. The creation of the People's Survival Fund, as proposed, will allow us to pole-vault toward ensuring disaster- and climate change-resilient communities," Legarda said.

Sen. Legarda, in collaboration with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, will hold the national launch of the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction: Revealing Risk, Redefining Development on Tuesday, 26 July 2011, 10:00 a.m. at the Senate of the Philippines.

Following the President's SONA, it will serve as a forum to examine any existing gaps in the government's disaster prevention, mitigation, and preparedness measures, and to propose appropriate priority interventions.

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