New hope for climate change adaptation

the-agora1

When was the last time you heard about climate change and Climate Change Commission (CCC)? Before last Wednesday climate change as a topic for discussion was a byword, in fact may have been an overused word but discussion has never found a one cure-all solution to the phenomenon. But Climate Change Commission? I must admit to hearing about it and its activities very scarcely. Until three weeks ago when a team from CCC came to Bohol to interview local government officials and people’s organizations on their plans and initiatives to address or adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects or damage to life and property.

That was in preparation for the launch of Communities for Resilience (CORE) Convergence Forum here last Wednesday and Thursday at the Bohol Plaza in Dauis town. The third to be launched in the country, the first was in Davao and the second in Cagayan de Oro, CORE is a capacity program of CCC to capacitate local governments, civil society organizations (CSOs) and non-government organizations (NGOs) on climate change to make the people ready to cope with the impacts of climate change such as strong typhoons, severe floods and droughts. Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman who also serves s the Executive Director of CCC led the CCC team in launching CORE.

The target in Bohol for building up this resiliency of communities to climate vulnerability are those living in the Wahig-Inabanga Upper River Basin (URB) which is one of the areas in the country that is at high risk to climate change impacts. Sadly the Wahig-Inabanga URB is not among the 18 major river basins identified by CCC for rolling out its programs and projects.

This is not to say that nothing has been done in Bohol by the local governments here. It will be recalled that long before climate change became a dreaded topic and phenomenon Bohol already passed its Bohol Environment Code. Bohol’s local disaster risk reduction management capabilities could no longer be considered mediocre. The Magnitude 7.2 earthquake that hit Bohol on October 15, 2013, typhoon Senyang and those that came before, the long droughts in the past and this year were all great teachers of Bohol on climate change adaptation.

The launch of CORE to capacitate LGUs in preparing their climate change action plans (CCAP) mandated under R.A. 9729 otherwise known as the Climate Change Act of 2009 may have been a bit too late given the destructive effects of climate change especially to the most vulnerable of the community – the poor. Since the enactment of the Climate Change Act, only 160 local government units out of the more than 1,700 LGUs have prepared their CCAP. CCAPs are supposed to build the adaptive capacities of local communities, increase the resilience of vulnerable sectors and natural ecosystems to climate change, and to optimize mitigation opportunities towards gender-responsive and rights-based sustainable development.

Another thing that is sorely missed by the LGUs and the POs and NGOs is the access to the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) of P1 billion a year since 2012 authorized by the passage of R.A. 10174. This fund would have totalled P6 billion already. Again sadly on 49 projects have been submitted and only three (3) have been approved. This poor utilization could not be because LGUs and POs do not need funds. It simply says that they are not aware of it and the requirement for availing it.

We hope that with the launch of CORE here, more Bohol LGUs and POs will be able to access the PSF and not just improve the resiliency of the Boholanos to climate change but also pursue more livelihood opportunities to improve their income and their life.

NOTES. At the Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting last Friday, the new provincial police director, P/SSupt. Felipe Natividad reported that more than 29,000 illegal drug users and more than 17,000 pushers have surrendered. I is good to know that Bohol is on its way to contributing to the attainment of the 3-6 months period that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has promised the Filipinos to eliminate the problem on illegal drugs. But I saw that the figures were begging some questions. So that prompted me to ask what is being done about these surrenderers.

The surrenderers could not just be allowed to return to their families without interventions to determine and classify those who need rehabilitation or just mere counselling. This will also inform government how many rehab facilities will be needed and how many competent doctors or counsellors will be needed to bring them back to “sanity.” We are glad to know that three clusters of national government agencies have already been organized to look at th different levels of affectation of the users and to determine how they can be helped and what facilities will be needed and where they be most likely be established.

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