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Legarda Promotes Sustainable and Nutritious Diet, Culinary Heritage Preservation in 8th Episode of “Stories for a Better Normal” Series
July 10, 2020 Friday

MANILA, 10 July 2020 - House Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda, together with resource speakers, shared tips on good nutrition and diet as well as the importance of preserving local food heritage, during the 8th episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Pathways,” with the topic, “Nutrition, Diet, and Culinary Heritage” shown via Facebook Live. Sustainable food enthusiasts and nutrition experts joined the online conversation, including  Zenaida Velasco, National President of the Nutritionist-Dietitians’ Association of the Philippines; Virgith Buena, Chairperson of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Board of Nutrition & Dietetics; Professor Luchie Callanta, College of Home Economics of the University of the Philippines-Diliman; Chef Jam Melchor, founder of the group Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement; Manuel Onalan, an indigenous Filipino organic farmtrepreneur; Sashah Dioso of the University of the Philippines-Visayas; and Asha Peri, a plant-based chef and founder of The Ecology of Food. The episode was held in celebration of Nutrition Month this July, by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 491, s. 1974, underscoring the importance of proper nutrition and a diverse diet, as well as growing food in a sustainable manner. “Isinusulong natin ang konsepto ng sustainability sa ating pamumuhay upang ang ating likas na yaman ay nagagamit natin sa paraan na hindi ito nasasayang, naitatapon, o nauubos. Sa ganitong paraan, tinuturuan natin ang ating sarili na mamuhay nang wasto at may paggalang sa ating kalikasan,” said Legarda. “Ngayong idinadaos natin ang Nutrition Month sa ating bansa, nawa’y maintindihan din natin ang tama at wastong pagkain at pamumuhay para mapanatili o mapalakas natin ang ating katawan at resistensya lalo na sa panahon ngayon ng pandemya,” added Legarda.  Ms. Zenaida Velasco shared the benefits of eating a balanced diet for our mental health and wellbeing. She noted that unhealthy dietary intake and nutrient depletion can lead to mental health disorders. “Sa panahon ngayon ng pandemya, marami tayong iniisip at pangamba kaya overwhelmed tayo. Dumadagdag pa ang social distancing sa ating isolation. One of the cornerstones in supporting good mental health is food. Ang ating kinakain at hindi rin kinakain will affect our mood and behavior,” said Ms. Velasco. Ms. Buena shared tips on how to ensure that families eat healthy food during this pandemic by reading the nutrition label and eating a whole-food, plant-based diet. She also advised viewers to drink more water to avoid dehydration. “A whole-food, plant-based diet is more of a lifestyle. We emphasize whole minimally-processed food to limit or avoid animal products, focusing on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts. A healthy diet excludes refined foods like added sugar, white flour, and processed oils,” said Ms. Buena.      Prof. Callanta shared the one-week nutritious and balanced cycle menu that was developed by the students of the UP College of Home Economics to help households cook healthy dishes from relief goods provided. She also shared some of the infographics they designed featuring various food rich in vitamins and minerals that can boost our immune system.  “Ngayong may COVID-19, ang unang hinihingi sa atin ay kung papaano papalakasin ang ating resistensya. Sa pamamagitan ng infographics, naglabas kami ng recipes para gawing mas masustansya ang mga delatang nakukuha nating bilang ayuda. Naglabas din kami para sa mga pagkaing mataas sa bitamina at mineral. Dumadating po ang mga ito sa mga local government units (LGUs) at ipinapaskil nila sa mga palengke, at ang iba pa ay humihingi ng permiso para maituro sa mga paaralan,” said Prof. Callanta. Chef Melchor shared the online database called Ark of Taste, which seeks to create an archive of indigenous food and ingredients from different countries, adding that Slow Food members nominate these food in an effort to promote and preserve biodiversity in grains, rice, fruits, or cooking traditions. He said that for the Philippines, there are 64 approved and archived local food and ingredients, but the aim is to document more through a complementary food mapping initiative.  “Kapag pinaguusapan ang isang produce o pagkain, hindi ito nawawala sa discussions—pwede pang itanim at ihain. Kapag hindi na pinaguusapan, maaaring mamatay ang mga ito katulad ng kultura natin. We have 64 indigenous ingredients and crops at the moment, that's why I am pushing for food mapping. Kung sasandal lang tayo sa international organizations, matagal na panahon ito bago ma-approve. Marami tayong produkto at indigenous crops na kailangan nating gamitin, pag-usapan, at itanim pa para humaba ang buhay at mapakinabangan ng susunod na henerasyon,” said Chef Melchor. Mr. Onalan, known by many as Mang Manny and an indigenous Filipino organic “farm-trepreneur,” explained the physiology of rice and shared rice nutrition and rice heritage.  “Rice relates to the political, social, and cultural context in our life in the Philippines. Rice in the cultural minorities, particularly in the Cordillera, dito na-develop ‘yung tinatawag natin na heritage, not only in the production side, but also in the consumption side. We are promoting organic rice, which is technically unpolished rice, and usually brown, black, and red. White rice is considered “desecrated” because they have polished off parts that have nutritional phytochemicals. What is left is compound and complex sugar and carbohydrates,” said Mr. Onalan. Mr. Dioso shared how environmental protection has aided Northern Antique in sustaining the basic needs of Antiqueños during the pandemic. “Noong nagsimula ‘yong pandemic, ang Pandan ang kauna-unahang bayan sa Antique na nag-register ng positive case ng COVID infection. At dahil nga sa government-imposed lockdown and community restrictions, the community resorted to backyard gardening and river fishing para ma-sustain ang pangangailangan sa pagkain. Naging malaking tulong ‘yung paniniwala at pagprotekta sa environment sa pag-sustain ng pangangailangan ng mga tao sa Northern Antique,” said Dioso. Ms. Peri gave a quick overview of the “Ecology of Food,” a plant-based nutrition course, and encouraged people to cook their own food using local, organic, and biodiverse food. “As an educator and chef, when I prepare food on my plate and when I teach, I tell my students that our plate should be a reflection of the biodiversity that grows in the fields, as practiced by our permaculturists, biodynamic farmers, and agri-ecologists, where we grow different crops together instead of just one crop. When we talk about nutritionally diverse food, this can only come from local, organic, and seasonal sources,” said Peri. As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, Stories for a Better Normal aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities to lead sustainable lives towards a healthier, safer, and much better normal than we used to have.   This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission (CCC), with support from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), The Climate Reality Project-Philippines, and Mother Earth Foundation. Episode 8 may be watched on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/conglorenlegarda/videos/320743009090549/) and on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea2jxzqdiGs).

Legarda Supports GCA Call to Action on Sustainable and Resilient COVID-19 Recovery
July 10, 2020 Friday

MANILA, 10 July 2020 — House Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda, as one of the Commissioners of the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), has joined a Call to Action for governments and businesses to integrate climate resilience into their COVID-19 recovery packages.  The GCA issued the statement, Call to Action for a Climate-Resilient Recovery from COVID-19, urging world leaders to integrate climate resilience in decisions at all levels of government, and calling on businesses, organizations, and communities to do the same with particular focus on resilience in infrastructure and financing.  The statement put a spotlight on the threats arising from the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of people’s health, well-being, and livelihoods and how these will be multiplied by the worsening impact of the climate crisis with more extreme storms, droughts, heat waves, food crises and diseases. “The raging COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the sobering reality that the world is not as advanced, prosperous and as resilient as we thought it to be. We have realized that our societies and economic systems are fragile and dependent on the health of our natural environment, and that we are only as strong as our most vulnerable,” said Legarda. “As the GCA has observed, “The COVID-19 pandemic has tragically exposed the risks humanity faces and how unprepared we are to respond,” she added. Legarda said that the Call to Action builds on the Commission’s 2019 flagship report, “Adapt Now”, laying down a triple dividend from embracing climate adaptation “by averting future losses, spurring economic gains through innovation, and delivering social and environmental benefits to everyone, but particularly to those currently affected and most at risk.” The GCA seeks to raise the profile of adaptation work by bringing together stakeholders and investments along seven Action Tracks: locally-led adaptation, urban resilience, water resources management, social safety nets, food security, nature-based solutions, and disaster prevention. These sectors are considered the most vulnerable to climate impacts or most critical for climate action under international frameworks including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Paris Agreement on climate change, and Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction.  Legarda said that she will work with the Climate Change Commission towards ensuring that the need to strengthen public health standards to fight COVID-19 is aligned with the goals of a sustainable and resilient pandemic recovery. She recently authored and sponsored House Bill No. 6864 or the “Better Normal for the Workplace, Communities and Public Spaces Act of 2020,” which seeks to establish safety measures and protocols in place in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and emphasizes the significance of pursuing sustainable pathways, protection of biodiversity, and the strict implementation of environmental laws. “I hope that this crisis has taught us well to be more cautious and approach today’s risks with concrete measures that will diminish our present vulnerabilities. As the world responds, it must build back better, towards a recovery that values the complex and interconnected relationships of human health, the economy, the climate, and the environment,” Legarda concluded. 

CCC, OML Center Hold Virtual Press Launch for Klima Film Festival
July 10, 2020 Friday

MANILA, 10 July 2020 —The Climate Change Commission (CCC) and the Oscar M. Lopez (OML) Center held the Klima Film Festival Press Launch on Wednesday, 8 July 2020, encouraging more of the youth to sign up as teams and participate in climate film labs, in an event streamed via Facebook Live through CCC’s Facebook Page.   The KFF, a joint initiative with the OML Center as part of its Balangay Project, aims to reach out to various young filmmakers all over the Philippines and inspire them to tell stories from their own communities.   “We conceptualized the Klima Film Festival, together with the Oscar M. Lopez Center, by putting emphasis on the biggest challenge of our time that is climate change, and the vital role of our youth in driving climate action. This project will not only give our youth a platform to exhibit their creativity but also enable them to champion climate justice and sustainable development,” said Commissioner Rachel Anne Herrera of CCC during her welcome remarks.   “The genesis of this activity is really the realization that we, the Oscar M. Lopez Center, as a science organization, needs to be more than just about science. We need to communicate. We need to tell stories - not just one story. Because if you think about climate, there are a lot of local stories. So what we want to do is use science while interacting with various sectors of society to help them effectively tell their various narratives, especially the youth from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao,” said Dr. Rodel D. Lasco, Executive Director of the OML Center.   Rep. Edgar M. Chatto of the 1st District of Bohol, Chair of the House Committee on Climate Change, graced the launch and expressed his full support to the project.   “Dalangin ko na sana ay maging makabuluhan ang inyong mga maikling pelikula na siyang magmumulat sa ating mga kababayan, maging sa ating mga pinuno sa gobyerno -- kamulatan na siyang pupukaw sa kanilang isip at damdamin upang kagyat na kumilos upang mabigyan ng lunas ang climate change at maisalba ang inang kalikasan at ang sangkatauhan,” said Rep. Chatto.   House Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda, who authored several environmental laws including the Climate Change Act of 2009 which created the CCC, also expressed her support to the KFF.   “To our youth, use this platform to make your voices be heard. I believe that you are the most active partners in challenging development norms, politics, governance, and leadership. Each of us has opportunities to make a difference for our future. We must take hold of the opportunity to responsibly manage our environment and lead the way towards resilient and sustainable development,” said Rep. Legarda in her message.   Open to all young filmmakers aged 16-22, the KFF opened its registration on June 30 and will end on July 31, 2020.   The full guidelines, mechanics, and submission requirements can be viewed at https://climate.gov.ph/events/klima-film-festival, or through the Facebook accounts of the Climate Change Commission at facebook.com/CCCPhl, and the Oscar M. Lopez Center at facebook.com/OscarMLopezCenter.   Watch the replay of the Klima Film Festival Digital Press Launch through this link: https://www.facebook.com/CCCPhl/videos/665185324077361/.

Nutrition, Diet, and Culinary Heritage in 8th Episode of “Stories for a Better Normal” Series
July 08, 2020 Wednesday

MANILA, 8 July 2020 – For the eighth episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Change Pathways,” with a topic on “Nutrition, Diet, and Culinary Heritage”, House Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda, together with food experts, will share their knowledge on good nutrition and the importance of preserving local food heritage through sustainable diets.   The episode will air on Thursday, 9 July 2020, 10 AM, via Facebook at facebook.com/conglorenlegarda and facebook.com/CCCPhl/. Joining Legarda are nutrition experts and sustainable food enthusiasts Ms. Zenaida Velasco, National President of the Nutritionist-Dietitians' Association of the Philippines; Virgith Buena, Chairperson of the Board of Nutrition & Dietetics, Professional Regulation Commission (PRC); and Assistant Professor Luchie Callanta from the University of the Philippines. The episode will also feature Chef Jam Melchor, founder of the group Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement; Mr. Manuel Onalan, indigenous Filipino organic "farmtrepreneur"; Mr. Sashah Dioso from the University of the Philippines Visayas; and Ms. Asha Peri, founder of Ecology of Food and a plant-based chef.  A staunch advocate of the preservation of indigenous culture, health, and environment, Legarda authored House Bill No. 637 or the Food Forest Gardening Act, which highlights the importance of establishing food gardens as a sustainable practice to help ensure food security and adapt to the impacts of climate change.  The previous episodes of Stories for a Better Normal featured backyard farming and food gardening, saving seeds, and planting organic fruits and vegetables the permaculture way in order to teach urban farmers how to be self-sustainable and self-sufficient.  This upcoming episode will highlight how maintaining a healthy diet to support a strong immune system can help Filipinos cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Legarda will also underscore how a sustainable and resilient food system can help preserve the culinary heritage of Filipinos. As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, Stories for a Better Normal aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a ‘better normal’ can be realized within our communities.             This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission, with support from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, The Climate Reality Project-Philippines and Mother Earth Foundation.

CCC Further Mainstreams Gender, Emphasizes Integration of Gender-Responsive Principles in Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Programs
July 07, 2020 Tuesday

MANILA, 7 July 2020 — The Climate Change Commission (CCC) today announced that it is ready for Level 3: Gender and Development (GAD) Application from its previous status of Level 1: Foundation Formation, following the Philippine Commission on Women’s (PCW) initial assessment of the CCC’s Gender Mainstreaming Evaluation Framework (GMEF).   The CCC said that the presentation of the results of its GMEF last year and the submission of its Gender Audit Report are part of its commitment to mainstreaming gender, while aligning with the national policy to allocate 5% of every agency’s budget to GAD initiatives. It also emphasized that gender-responsive principles must be applied in all climate adaptation and mitigation programs in the country.   The CCC’s GMEF were assessed of its gender mainstreaming initiatives based on policies, people, enabling mechanisms, and projects, activities, and programs (PAPs).   The GMEF is a tool that identifies the status and/or progress of government agencies in mainstreaming gender and development in their respective organizations, particularly in their systems, structures, policies, programs, processes, and procedures, in line with the implementation of the Magna Carta of Women and other GAD mandates, such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA), and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).   In terms of policy, the PCW highlighted the adoption of CCC Resolution No.2019-002: Mainstreaming and Strengthening Gender-Responsive Approaches in the Formulation and Implementation of Climate Change Policies, Plans, Programs, and Activities; the issuance of CCC Office Order No. 2018-022: Constitution of GAD Focal Point System based on RA 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women, Chapter VI Section 36.b; the issuance of statements supporting gender and climate change at national and international levels; and the integration of GAD perspectives in national plans, such as the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) and the National Framework Strategy on Climate Change (NFSCC). The PCW also positively noted the continuous advocacy on gender and climate change at the international level, such as the appointment of gender focals in the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the active participation in mainstreaming gender in UN climate talks.    In terms of human resource, the CCC is said to have a gender-balanced and gender-supportive management and is gender-inclusive in hiring personnel; while in terms of enabling mechanisms, the CCC initiated exploratory activities with PCW and other organizations to facilitate gender mainstreaming, such as in the development of the Green Jobs Certification and Standard process, NDC consultations, and the NCCAP monitoring and evaluation (M&E) validation process, as well as the forging of Memorandum of Understanding with PCW on gender and climate change and the practice of collection of sex-disaggregated data.   In terms of PAPs, the PCW highlighted the integration of gender concerns during the conduct of 6th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation (APAN) Forum, which was co-hosted by the CCC with partners in the region, the 2nd National Convention on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCA-DRR), and the UNFCCC negotiations; the conduct of consultation activities with internal and external clients to identify gender issues in the climate change sector and its corresponding strategies; and the consultation with the PCW and partner agencies and relevant organizations in its GAD mainstreaming efforts.   The CCC stated that while the Level 3 status—up by two levels from previous assessment—is already a positive indicator of its efforts to effectively mainstream gender, much work needs to be done as it strives to achieve the highest, which is Level 5: Replication and Innovation, where GAD programs are institutionalized and replicated in other agencies and offices and where peoples, policies, enabling mechanisms, and PAPs are further enhanced based on the results of GAD M&E.   The CCC has always expressed that climate change is not gender-neutral—that the societal roles and responsibilities of women and men affect the way they experience and cope with climate impacts, which already aggravate existing gender inequalities. On the other hand, this very vulnerability of women makes their insights and experiences extremely valuable in planning and implementing climate action.   It is therefore the CCC’s commitment to ensure that the aspect of gender equality and empowerment in climate action, which is already enshrined in international and national policies, is demonstrated in our country systems and processes.