PGMA underscores urgency of struggle vs. climate change

June 12, 2009 12:06 pm 

ISULAN, Sultan Kudarat, June 12 – “Let’s work together against climate change.”

Thus said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo here today as she rallied the people of Sultan Kudarat to become “partners” of her administration in addressing the problem arising out of the worsening global weather phenomenon.

She warned that unless effective measures are adopted to mitigate climate change, severe weather disturbances could disrupt food production in Mindanao.

The Philippines’ food basket, the Mindanao region has been relatively “typhoon-free” compared to other regions.

“Kung tuluy-tuloy itong climate change darating ang araw na ang Mindanao, ang food basket ng ating bansa, dahil walang typhoon ay magkakaroon ng typhoon at mawawalan ng hanap buhay dito particular sa pag-provide ng pagkain sa buong Pilipinas,” the President said in her remarks at a briefing on Climate Change held at the Capitol Building here this morning.

“Kaya importanteng-importante na iwasan natin ang mga pinag-uugatan ng climate change,” she added.

To illustrate her point, the President explained that the three main contributors to global warming are: excessive use of fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel fuel, increase in solid wastes that produce methane, a green house gas, when collected and dumped in dumpsites or sanitary landfills; and decrease in trees brought about by logging, illegal or otherwise.

Global warming is the direct effect of climate change.

To address this problem, the President has ordered the construction of more materials recovery facilities (MRF). She has instructed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to prioritize its reforestation programs as counter measures against forest denudation and also to completely close all open sanitary landfills.

An MRF is a waste disposing facility that segregated trash of households and commercial establishments for them to be transformed into reusable items such as compost for farming; bricks for construction and charcoal briquettes that can be used for cooking. In its entirety, a complete MRF system has been proven to effectively reduce waste by about 80-90 percent.

“So sa madaling salita, dalawa ang projects na pinag-uusapan dito to mitigate climate change: solid waste management and reforestation,” the President said.

She also called on the local government unit (LGU) of Sultan Kudarat composed of one city, 11 municipalities and 249 barangays, to put up their own MRF by splitting the cost 60:40.

“The average price of an MRF, rounded off, is about P200,000 so for every P120,000 that any level of government will spend, we will give you P80,000 para magka-partner tayo,” the President said.

On reforestation, the President told DENR Undersecretary for Staff Bureaus Manuel Gerochi to intensify the department’s reforestation program.

She instructed Gerochi to cancel the reforestation contract between the DENR and an unnamed contractor and to identify the direct beneficiaries.

“On reforestation, sinabi ni Undersecretary Gerochi na merong P15 million for reforestation in Sultan Kudarat pero he has instructed the PENRO (Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office) to instruct the CENRO (Community Environment and Natural Resources Office) na makipag-coordinate sa LGU para alam niyo kung sino-sino ang mga beneficiaries niyang P15-million na yan,” the President said. (PNA)

DCT/OPS/utb

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