Gov’t seeks P152-B for climate change, disaster risk reduction

The Duterte administration seeks a P152.35 billion outlay  for its convergence program on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction or Risk Resiliency Program (RRP) for 2021.

The Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM-DRR), which the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) chairs, said the amount is roughly 30 percent higher than the P117 billion allocated for the program this year.

The increase is due to the alignment of programs and activities to the priority policies, strategies and projects of the Inter-Agency Task Force Technical Working Group on Anticipatory and Forward Plan for the “new normal” in the CCAM-DDR sector.

Aside from DENR, the Cabinet Cluster also includes the  Departments of Social Welfare and Development, Energy, Public Works and Highways, Agriculture, Agrarian Reform, Interior and Local Government, National Defense (Office of Civil Defense), Science and Technology, and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and Climate Change Commission.

The proposed outlay, DENR Undersecretary for Finance, Information Systems and Climate Change, Analiza Rebuelta-Teh said will be used to build resilient and sustainable communities as the country continues to deal with the Covid-19 crisis.

“We are still in the midst of a health crisis brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. The country needs programs that will strengthen the resilience and adaptive capacities of communities, especially in climate-vulnerable provinces and major urban centers,” Rebuelta-Teh said.

Aside from enhancing the adaptive capacities of vulnerable communities, the program also aims to ensure the adequate supply of clean air, water, and other natural resources; increase the resilience of critical infrastructures; and enhance knowledge, access to information and institutional capacities of communities.

Rebuelta-Teh said the RRP will prioritize 14 climate-vulnerable provinces, which vary in risk factors of rise in sea levels, extreme rainfall and heating events, increased ocean temperature and disturbed natural resources supply.

These vulnerable provinces include Masbate, Sorsogon, Negros Oriental, Western Samar, Eastern Samar, Dinagat Islands, Southern Leyte, Sarangani, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Northe Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Bukidnon and Zamboanga del Norte.

The program also covers four major urban radiation centers — Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Metro Iloilo and Metro Davao.

Addressing climate change. DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said. remains a top priority for the government even if it is currently preoccupied on controlling the  Covid-19 crisis. He described the crisis as a “slow motion and much graver danger since it potentially poses existential risks for future generations.”

Cimatu said the government, through its Cabinet Cluster on CCAM-DRR, “will prioritize actions and investments that will reduce the long term health impacts and increase our resilience and adaptive capacity to both the Covid-19  pandemic and climate change.”

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