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PHL targets developing its annual budget increasingly climate-sensitive

MANILA, June 29 – The Philippines aims boosting its resiliency against climate change with plans to make its annual budget increasingly climate-sensitive.

Presidential Assistant for Climate Change and former Environment Chief Elisea Gozun has reported that Budget Secretary Florencio Abad already manifested support for such a bid, noting he understands the problem and the government acknowledges experts’ warning the Philippines is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change in the world.

”He wants me and the Climate Change Commission to take a look at the budget to ensure what we identified as climate priorities are funded,” she said.

The government is prioritizing adaptation measures so the archipelagic Philippines can cope with climate change’s repercussions.

Such repercussions include onslaught of increasingly violent weather disturbances and sea level rise.

Though not a major emitter of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs), the Philippines still also undertakes some measures to help mitigate the release of these into the atmosphere.

Experts earlier said GHGs trap heat in the atmosphere, causing global temperature to rise.

Such global warming drives climate change, they noted.

”For the Philippines, therefore, priority must be on adaptation measures to help communities build resiliency to climate change,” Gozun said.

She believes improving resiliency will help protect communities and the country’s development gains.

Gozun said a third-party review of government’s climate initiatives is already in progress.

The review aims to further improve such initiatives and to better identify which of these must be prioritized for funding.

”We must ensure government’s budget is climate-sensitive,” Gozun said.

She noted that budgets of local government units (LGUs) are also being reviewed for climate-sensitivity.

Such budgets must be reviewed since LGUs are at the forefront of the battle against climate change, she pointed out.

”Critical action on climate change is really at the local level,” she said.

Gozun hopes to see, by mid-2012, the initial draft of the review’s findings so far.

Final report on the review’s findings is expected for release around September this year, she said.

”Such findings will be inputs to proposed budgets for 2013 and beyond,” she added. (PNA) scs/CJT/utb

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