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PSF: An answer to climate change vulnerabilities — Tanada

MANILA, Aug. 10 — The recent floods in the National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby provinces caused by days of incessant rains due to the enhanced southwest monsoon left thousands of families homeless and at least 60 people dead, mostly due to drowning.

House Deputy Speaker and Quezon Rep. Lorenzo "Erin" Tanada III sees the recent weather disturbance, which was attributed to climate change, as timely to push for the passage of House Bill No. 6235 or the People's Survival Fund (PSF) Act.

Tanada said HB 6235, whose counterpart is Senate Bill No. 2811 sponsored by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, will be effective in rolling out climate change mitigation and disaster risk reduction programs.

The Senate President earlier called for the immediate enactment into law of the measure, saying it would be relevant to Filipinos who have been greatly affected by the extreme weather disturbances.

The measure has been passed by both chambers of Congress and its bicameral committee report has been transmitted to Malacanang for President Benigno S. Aquino III's action.

"Climate change adaptive cities are very important, especially for vulnerable countries like the Philippines. Likewise, marginalized farmers and fisherfolk must be able to adopt to prolonged droughts, incessant rains that submerge farms in floodwaters for weeks, and rising sea levels and temperature," Tanada said.

He said what is important with the measure, aside from the yearly replenished P1 billion budget, is that it provides "incentives for local communities to directly access funds that will finance climate change adaptive projects, devoid of the politicized trickle-down mechanism that has long plagued funding systems."

Tanada said the bill would also force officials to carry out long-term plans for their constituents "rather than quick-gestation, high impact projects that just fit into a three-year term, good enough for re-election."

People's organizations and civil society groups have much to hope for should the bill become law as they can now take action themselves, proposing small but relevant projects like small water impoundment, use of seeds that are drought or flood resistant, establishing early warning systems, and having climate change insurance. (PNA)

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