PGMA to sign Climate Change Act on Oct. 30

October 10, 2009 12:30 pm 

MAHAYAG, Zamboanga del Sur, Oct. 10 — As unexplained volumes of rainwater continue to flood many parts of Luzon as a manifestation of climate change, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced she will be signing a landmark bill that will institutionalize government’s response to the onslaughts of climate change.

At the weekly climate change briefing here conducted by the President every Friday, the Chief Executive said she is set to sign on Oct. 30 the Climate Change Act of 2009, a law that will mainstream climate change in all the plans and programs of national agencies and local government units.

“The President will be signing a landmark law that will also create the Climate Change Commission, the first agency in the Asia-Pacific Region that will deal directly with climate change,” said Undersecretary Carlos Garcia VI of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Global Warming and Climate Change (OPACC).

Garcia, who represented Presidential Adviser on Global Warming and Climate Change Secretary Heherson T. Alvarez, briefed the President on the waste management program of the Municipality of Floridablanca in Pampanga and the status of the ongoing global negotiations for a new climate change treaty when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

Alvarez was in Bangkok as head of the Philippine delegation to the negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The new treaty will be voted upon by world leaders at the 15th Conference of Parties (COP-15) in Copenhagen in December.

“This law is an immediate first step and a direct response of the Philippine government to the emerging global issue of climate change by ensuring that mitigation and adaptation –- the two instruments to battle climate change -– are put in place from the top, down to the barangay level,” Garcia said.

For his part, Assistant Secretary Gerardo Calderon, executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) who represented Environment Secretary Lito Atienza, briefed the President on the compliance of the province of Zamboanga del Sur to Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, particularly on the establishment of one Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) per barangay.

President Arroyo congratulated provincial government officials, who joined her for the briefing, led by Governor Aurora Cerilles, Rep. Antonio Cerilles, Rep. Victor Yu and local mayors, for the province’s commendable 38 percent compliance with the law. The national average is only 15 percent or about 5,000 barangays with MRFs, out of a total of 42,000 barangays.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive sought the support of the two congressmen for the immediate passage of the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) bill now pending in Congress, to further strengthen the country’s response to disasters and prepare communities.

“It is time we expand our emergency responses and disaster preparedness to not just fire drills and earthquakes drills but also to the severe ‘climate change drills,’ which may be conducted under a National Disaster Risk Reduction Plan,” Garcia told the President.

DRR has been identified by the United Nations as a holistic approach to reduce the effects of disasters, covering the areas of: (1) humanitarian relief; (2) development aid sectors; (3) risk management; (4) climate change; (5) and emergency preparedness. (PNA)

scs/CJT/PR/rsm

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