CCAM-DRR Cabinet Cluster Outlines Green Recovery Plan Ahead of SONA 2020

July 23, 2020 Thursday

MANILA, 23 July 2020 — “We shall reimagine our relationship with nature by catalyzing structural investments and behavior change. We shall convert this health crisis into opportunities to accelerate climate action. We shall formulate responses to the pandemic through a climate lens,” said Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu yesterday at the “Tatak ng Pagbabago 2020: The Pre-SONA Forum,” which was held in preparation for President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.
The third part of the forum was co-led by the Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation, and Disaster Risk Reduction Cluster (CCAM-DRR) Cluster, which is chaired by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with the Climate Change Commission (CCC) as secretariat.
Sec. Cimatu presented the Cluster’s major projects for the past year focusing on scaling up community preparedness against climate hazards and disasters.
No previous pandemic had a more dramatic impact in peoples' lives in the past century as COVID-19 has in a few short months. On the other hand, climate change is perhaps the greatest challenge we have ever faced,” said Sec. Cimatu.
We were able to demonstrate to the whole world that if we act with the political will shown by this government in its fight against this pandemic, we can actually see the change we want. We are at the point where humanity is given a chance to stop and think and to choose how we rebuild, and we shall come out of this in such a way that we can collectively deal with climate change and disasters,” he added.
Among the highlights of the report were the response to the communities affected by the Taal Volcano earlier this year, the Boracay shutdown and rehabilitation, and the cleaning of Manila Bay.
Sec. Cimatu also mentioned the country’s success to secure an approval from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for a grant of USD10 million for the establishment of multi-hazard impact-based forecasting and early warning systems nationwide. He also added that over Php 300 million-worth of climate change adaptation projects by several local government units had already been approved for implementation under the People's Survival Fund (PSF).
Other accomplishments by the cluster include:

  • Establishment of a Doppler radar in Bohol in 2019, bringing the total number of Doppler radars to 17 nationwide;
  • Commissioning of two satellite telemetered seismic stations (raising total to 104), while nine active fault maps were generated;
  • Establishment of a 1.7 km wastewater interceptor and a 2.5 km-long trashboom in Manila Baywalk, noting that coliform levels in the area declined;
  • Planting of 1.704 billion seedlings in 2.031 million hectares, generating 5,004,336 jobs under the Enhanced National Greening Program;
  • Rehabilitation of Angat Dam low-level outlet to serve as backup water discharge to ensure steady water supply, as well as the reactivation of 89 deep wells and installation of 46 groundwater monitoring in critical areas;
  • Closing of 27 dumpsites and construction of 382 materials recovery facility (MRFs) and 22 sanitary landfills, noting that the guidelines for integrated management of municipal solid wastes through waste-to-energy facilities also took effect and that the wastes from South Korea without importation clearance were sent back; and
  • Maintenance of 104 ambient air quality monitoring stations in highly-urbanized centers nationwide, noting that the Philippines had good air quality as levels of criteria pollutants were within standard in 2019.

Sec. Cimatu said that the CCAM-DRR Cluster shall prioritize actions and investments that will reduce long-term health impacts from and increase our resilience and adaptive capacity to both the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. He discussed the following strategies and priorities:

  • The 'Plant, Plant, Plant' program will be implemented for food security.
  • More effective health care waste management shall be implemented to overcome large volumes of infectious and hazardous waste in hospitals.
  • Storage, treatment, and disposal facilities in the country shall be increased to prevent zoonotic diseases.
  • Surveillance and enforcement activities in degradation hotspots and critical ecosystems shall be enhanced.
  • Research and development and utilizing natural resources for disease prevention and cure shall be undertaken.
  • Reforestation and watershed management, forest protection, and agroforestry development especially in critical watersheds shall be strengthened.
  • Family-based approach shall be adopted under the Expanded National Greening Program to provide livelihood opportunities.
  • Increased demand for water during the COVID-19 pandemic shall be addressed by fast-tracking the development of alternative water sources.
  • The capacities of the LGUs, especially the barangays, shall be strengthened.
  • Data infrastructure and early warning systems in the NDRRMC shall be upgraded.
  • Endeavor for a low-carbon pump to recovery by sustaining the investments on renewable energy and energy conservation programs to ensure continuous power supply amidst the pandemic.

CCC Secretary Emmanuel De Guzman also discussed the role of climate change adaptation and mitigation in pursuing a green COVID-19 recovery.
"Tulad po ng COVID, climate change is an urgent global concern. It is an existential threat; it is a life and death issue. Like our response to COVID, we must heed the science in responding to the climate crisis. Kailangan po nating ibangon muli ang ating ekonomiya mula sa dagok ng pandemya nang mas matatag kaysa dati. We cannot just go back to business as usual, vulnerable and defenseless against the next pandemic or global disruption. Mahalaga pong kaakibat po ng pagbabago at pagbangon ng ating bayan mula sa pandemya ang mabisang pagtugon sa climate change," said de Guzman.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte concluded the program by delivering a message. On his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) this Monday, he will present a roadmap for the country to recover from the effects of the COVID-19.
"My fellow Filipinos, the accomplishments that we have just presented to you in this Pre-SONA Forum are the fruits of our collective efforts to foster real, lasting, and meaningful change in our country. Numerous trials have tested our resolve this past few years, but we always emerge victorious because of our unity and bayanihan as a people. As we look to the future with much hope and positivity, let us continue to work together to build a better and more prosperous Philippines and for ourselves and the next generation of Filipinos,” President Duterte concluded.