Deputy Speaker and Antique Rep. Loren Legarda encouraged government agencies to enhance the ability of local government units (LGUs) and groups to receive climate financing from the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) amid current national budget discussions in the House of Representatives and Senate.
The PSF is the country’s local adaptation fund, with grants going to local government units and organizations for projects and activities that assist people and ecosystems deal with climate change’s effects. In 2012, Legarda wrote and sponsored Republic Act 10174, known as the People’s Survival Fund Act, which amends the Climate Change Act of 2009.
In an issued statement, Legard said the fund is annually allocated with 1 billion pesos and may be augmented by other sources. It is managed by the PSF Board, which is chaired by the Department of Finance (DOF) and includes representatives from other government agencies such as the National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Budget and Management, and Climate Change Commission (CCC), the academe, business sector organizations, and civil society.
The Board considers the presence of multiple climate hazards, poverty incidence, and key biodiversity areas in the approval of proposals from LGUs.
“Alam naman natin kung gaano ka-vulnerable ang ating bansa sa mga bagyo, tagtuyot, pagbaha, pagtaas ng karagatan, at iba pang epekto ng climate change that’s why it frustrates me that we are not utilizing the one-billion annual allocation for the PSF. That fund is really meant to provide long-term financing for local climate projects and programs in order to prevent further destruction and losses within our vulnerable communities,” Legarda said in the statement.
“Only six LGUs have secured PSF grants so far. I know that project development takes time, especially since our LGUs and organizations need also to appreciate the process behind it, including assessing their own locality’s climate risks and vulnerabilities before identifying the needed interventions. That’s why I’m also urging government agencies, most especially the CCC and the Department of the Interior and Local Government – Local Government Academy, to bolster your program in partnership with local academic institutions and civil society organizations, to help our LGUs access the climate finance that they urgently need,” Legarda added.
The six municipalities that have been approved for to receive the PSF grant amounting to P342.45 million are the following:
• Siargao Climate Field School for Farmers and Fisherfolk by Municipality of Del Carmen (P80.7M), Surigao Del Norte in partnership with the Surigao State College of Technology, which aims to capacitate fisherfolk and farm owners and workers by establishing a sustainable end-to-end institutional system for the generation and application of locally-tailored climate information tools in order to reduce possible economic losses due to climate change;
• Ridge-to-Reef Disaster Risk Reduction and Management as an Adaptation Mechanism to Resiliency (P39M) by Municipality of Lanuza, Surigao Del Sur, covering a ridge-to-reef approach to manage, rehabilitate, and protect watersheds, including the propagation of mangrove ecosystem along the riverine and enrichment of forest cover, and provision of alternative livelihood;
• Building Resilience through Ecological-based Farming (P38.2M) by Municipality of San Francisco, Camotes Island in Cebu in partnership with the Philippine Partnership for the Development of the Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA), which aims to strengthen water governance and develop climate-adaptive livelihoods by mainstreaming water resources development and management, engaging water-service providers and water consumers including the agriculture sector, and capacity-building on climate-resilient family farm planning and WRDM technologies;
• Promoting Climate-Resilient Agriculture (P38.1M) by Municipality of Gerona, Tarlac; the Rice Watch and Action Network, which aims to increase access of communities to climate information and warning services, enhance preparedness against climate-related hazards, and improve Gerona’s water resources leading towards sustainable development;
• Establishment and Sustainable Management of River Ecosystem (P28.7M) by Municipality of Kitcharao, Agusan Del Norte in partnership with the Agri-Aqua Development Corporation-Mindanao (AADC), which aims to establish a Watershed Management Office, conduct resource management capacity building activities, provide sustainable and resilient support livelihood programs, and construct settlement protection along riverbanks; and
• Saub Watershed Ecosystem Rehabilitation and Flood Risk Reduction for Increased Resilience (P102.9M) by the Province of Sarangani in coordination with the local government of Maitum, which aims to formulate the Saub Watershed Management Plan and establish a Watershed Management Office, build capacity, develop agroforestry through deep-rooted fruit trees in the upland and establish demo farms, and construct riverbank protection to improve the communal irrigation system to regulate floodwater and avoid river siltation.
The PSF currently has a total of 29 project proposals in the pipeline, of which 18 are undergoing enhancement.
The CCC’s capacity and technical assistance program has integrated orientation and learning sessions on PSF to 167 LGUs, and 124 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
“Tinatayang mas lalala at mas dadalas ang epekto ng climate change sa patuloy na pag-init ng mundo. Mas kakailangan ng ating mga LGUs ang sapat na pondo upang maagapan at maibsan ang magiging epekto nito sa kanilang komunidad. We need to learn and share the experiences of the six LGUs that were successful in securing grants. Our government agencies must also assess other gaps and challenges that our LGUs experience and to address them through our continuing support programs. Let’s make this stringent process easier for them,” Legarda said.