Legarda: Incorporate Climate and Envi-Friendly Programs in COVID-19 Rehab
April 2, 2020 - Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda today urged governments and leaders to incorporate climate change and environmental protection initiatives into the health, social welfare, and other support and rehabilitation programs for populations and communities affected by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country and the world.  Legarda said that the health crisis—with COVID-19 cases now at over 827,000 in 205 states and deaths of more than 40,000 worldwide—gives countries the opportunity to utilize funds for support programs to further their transition towards a greener and more sustainable economy. “The crisis we face is truly unprecedented, but we need to think deeper in finding long-term sustainable solutions, especially for the disproportionately affected poor and marginalized sectors of our society. Let us spend our public and private resources wisely to improve the quality of our lives so as to face present crises on health, climate, and environment better equipped and able to cope with the challenges,” Legarda said.   Citing an article from the World Bank, Legarda said that as governments design fiscal stimulus packages, they could also prioritize climate-smart investments in these four areas: •    Renewable energy (RE) – to improve energy security, reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports, reduce air pollution, improve health and well-being, and as renewable power plants are often more labor-intensive, generate more jobs; •    Low carbon infrastructure – to help curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through public transport and solid waste management, as well as promote clean and efficient energy; •    Climate change adaptation – to enhance climate resilience, while creating jobs and delivering basic needs through protective infrastructure, water and sanitation, irrigation, and ecosystem rehabilitation; and •    Maintaining carbon taxes and fuel tariffs – putting a price on the external cost of carbon emissions, to catalyze the shift towards sustainable development.  Legarda earlier called for more urban food gardens and backyard farms in households and public spaces; the promotion of renewable sources of energy to sustain the seen improvement of air quality in Metro Manila and urban regions; and stronger enforcement of laws and policies concerning the illegal wildlife trade. She also supported the call of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that “the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis must lead to a different economy… with a strong focus on building more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change, and the many other global challenges we face.” “Governments and leaders across the world must heed the call for a better and healthier planet. COVID-19 will not be the only crisis that will test our physical, emotional, and mental resolve. Let our proficiency, goodwill, compassion, and solidarity prevail in these trying times,” Legarda concluded.
April 02, 2020 Thursday
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Legarda: Sustain Clean Air after COVID-19 Pandemic
The Sierra Madre mountain range looms over the Metro Manila skyscrapers. Photo by Johair Siscar Addang from ABS-CBN website MANILA 1 APRIL 2020 – Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda today called on the national and local governments to ensure that the air quality in Metro Manila and urban regions becomes healthier even after the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), which was imposed due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Legarda cited figures showing a substantial decrease in levels of particulate matter (PM)—which refers to a mixture of solid particles or liquid droplets in the atmosphere capable of penetrating deep into lung passageways and entering the bloodstream causing cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and respiratory impacts—in different parts of Metro Manila. According to the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the air quality in Metro Manila is “improving”, recording “good” or “moderate/fair” levels of PM10 (inhalable particles 10 micrometers or smaller in diameter) in various cities. Meanwhile, according to the Environmental Pollution Studies Laboratory of the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, data gathered from airtoday.ph stations shows that the levels of PM2.5 (2.5 micrometers or smaller) decreased by 80 to 180% at the Lung Center of the Philippines compound, and by 70 to 90% as measured along EDSA Muñoz, from two weeks to days prior the ECQ. “The improvement in our air quality may just be temporary and would likely see a reverse when industries, businesses, transportation, and daily activities resume. This health crisis, although truly unfortunate, provided us a glimpse on the quality of air we and our families could be enjoying if our economy utilizes more of the clean sources of energy and not fossil fuel,” said Legarda, who also authored the Clean Air Act and Renewable Energy Act. Legarda cited the World Health Organization (WHO) report that air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year and that nine out of ten people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. In the Philippines alone, 120,000 Filipinos die every year because of air pollution. Legarda also said that air pollution, which causes long-term ailments such as asthma, and impairs children's cognitive development, costs societies across the globe USD5 trillion annually. She also reiterated UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' earlier call to help address air pollutants that cause global warming, such as black carbon from diesel engines and trash burning, and that reducing emissions from such could help alleviate global warming by up to 0.5 degrees Celsius over the next few decades. "As we exert all efforts to contain this pandemic, let us also be reminded to pursue and embrace sustainable principles and practices in our communities and homes. Let our environmental laws urge us to take care of our environment as our means to ensure public safety and health for the present and future generations,” Legarda concluded.
April 01, 2020 Wednesday
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CCC Supports NEDA’s Proposed Covid-19 Program, Pushes for Recovery Planning Beyond Business as Usual
MANILA, 01 April 2020 — Echoing the pronouncement of United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) said that the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) pandemic presents an opportunity to rebuild the economy and set the stage for a recovery that forges new ways to pursue development. In a virtual press conference last 19 March, Guterres said that world leaders have the responsibility to “recover better” from the pandemic. “We must ensure that lessons are learned and that this crisis provides a watershed moment for health emergency preparedness and for investment in critical 21st century public services and the effective delivery of global public goods,” he said. The CCC also expressed support to the three-phased program of interventions proposed by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to prevent the Covid-19 situation from becoming an economic and social crisis. The first phase of the NEDA proposal involves (a) clinical and medical response, such as early detection and diagnosis, effective management and treatment protocol, and research and epidemiological studies; (b) public health responses such as travel ban, promotion of proper hygiene, school closures, and flexible work arrangements; and (c) short-term augmentation of the Philippines' health systems capacity, such as establishing makeshift outpatient consultation facilities with specimen harvesting and the increase of supply of personal protective equipment. The second phase will focus on rebuilding consumer and business confidence, while the third phase will involve the resumption of a "new normal" state of economic activity more prepared for another possible pandemic. According to the CCC, this three-phased program further strengthens the CCC’s leadership resolve to facilitate the country’s paradigm shift toward sustainable development pathways.  Since its establishment and pursuant to its mandate under the law, the CCC has been laying the groundwork for the transformation of critical sectors toward a more sustainable and equitable economic growth that is more resilient to the interconnected threats of climate change and public health emergencies. In line with this, the CCC reiterated its call for government and business leaders around the world to think and plan beyond returning to business as usual. The climate change body noted that restoring the status quo when the pandemic is over will only bring more public health problems in the future. The Covid-19 outbreak, just like the climate crisis, disproportionately affects the poor and marginalized. Preventing and overcoming another public health crisis, therefore, will entail investments across all sectors of society. For its part, the CCC said that it will advocate for more investments in (a) policy development and discourse that promote future thinking and health crisis scenario building; (b) surveillance and early warning for disease outbreaks and emergence of new diseases; (c) health emergency preparedness and response planning, including periodic simulation exercises for health care facilities, and (d) institutional strengthening, including human resource and systems enhancement, and health facilities upgrading across the health sector.
April 01, 2020 Wednesday
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CCC: Heed Science to Avert Public Health, Climate Emergencies
MANILA, 30 MARCH 2020 – The Climate Change Commission (CCC) emphasized the importance of letting science inform strategies and actions to address global health and climate emergencies, which cause built in systems to be rapidly strained, such as in the alarming spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Twelve years before the emergence of COVID-19, which has now afflicted over 600,000 people, scientists through a study published by the Clinical Microbiology Reviews had early on warned of a possible disease outbreak in China due to the culture of eating exotic mammals in the southern section of the country. The study titled, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus as an Agent of Emerging and Reemerging Infection, explained that the rapid economic growth in the area resulted in the increase of demand for animal proteins, including horseshoe bats, which are considered host to coronaviruses. The inadequate enforcement of laws and policies to curb illegal wildlife trade and market increases the risk of virus transmission from animals to human. The study mentioned that “the small reemergence of SARS in late 2003 after the resumption of the wildlife market in southern China and the recent discovery of a very similar virus in horseshoe bats, bat SARS-CoV, suggested that SARS can return if conditions are fit for the introduction, mutation, amplification, and transmission of this dangerous virus.” The CCC also noted that for the past years, scientists have also been providing climate projections that can inform and enable nations to prepare and avert the adverse effects of climate change way ahead. In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—the world’s leading scientific body for assessing the science related to climate change—released its Special Report on the Global Warming of 1.5°C, which urged governments to limit global temperature rise below 1.5°C to minimize the destruction of climate impacts to human, health, and ecosystems compared to a development path towards 2°C.   According to the report, limiting warming at 1.5°C is economically feasible, but will require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions, especially in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. “This report by the world’s leading climate scientists is an ear-splitting wake-up call to the world. It confirms that climate change is running faster than we are–and we are running out of time,” said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, during the launch of the IPCC report in October 2018. Guterres also emphasized that with continuous inaction, more heat waves will be experienced by millions of people, more species will be lost, water scarcity will prevail in the most vulnerable countries, fast melting of ice sheets in the Artic region, which would result in higher sea level rise and a wipe-out of the world’s coral reefs. These scientific findings and projections about climate change and emerging new diseases, give authorities, policymakers, and the general public the information they need to make decisions and actions considering their context and needs. As a policymaking body, the CCC has been incorporating scientific research and data in the development and implementation of climate policies, plans, and programs and in coordination with other agencies, organizations, and stakeholders. The CCC emphasizes that science can help understand the problem and provide solutions to address it. Listening to science will help safeguard our health, food and human security, water supply, and socioeconomic growth of the country.
March 30, 2020 Monday
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Earth Hour 2020
 
March 28, 2020 Saturday
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Legarda: Everyone Must Ensure Safety of COVID-19 Frontliners
March 26, 2020 - Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda today urged the government to prioritize the health and well being of our health professionals, service providers, and other frontliners as the country continues to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Legarda also lamented the death of five doctors who succumbed to COVID-19 and expressed concern for the thousands of medical practitioners who continue to be exposed to the virus as they fulfill their duties.  “It breaks my heart to learn that some of our health workers—the very people who are providing care to our patients and keeping us safe from the disease—have died. With the President’s signing of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, I hope the government can extend adequate support to all our frontliners in addressing COVID-19 as efficiently and urgently as possible,” Legarda said.    “I also plea to the general public to not add stress to our already overburdened hospitals and health workers by staying at home and strictly following government protocol and safety measures during this Enhanced Community Quarantine period. Let us do our part to arrest the spread of the disease,” Legarda added. Legarda, who voted in favor of the passage of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, said that the law provides a special risk allowance on top of hazard pay, as well as shoulders all medical costs for those who were exposed to the virus. The law will also provide P100,000 to public and private health workers who contract the disease and P1 million to the families of health workers who died in the line of duty. The law also authorizes the provision of an emergency subsidy to 18 million low income families, ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 for two months; procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE), testing kits, and other medical supplies and tools in the most expeditious manner; and the fast tracking of accreditation for COVID-19 testing by public and private medical institutions.   Legarda, author of Republic Act No. 10361 or the Domestic Workers Act, said that the government must ensure that safe working conditions and the provision of social and other benefits for domestic workers are followed. “The decline of our frontliners’ health and well being would also be our society’s decline. We must do all that we can to support them in carrying out their duties without them having to worry about their health and safety. As they risk their lives to contain the spread of the virus, let us also do our part. Let us survive this pandemic through fortitude and solidarity,” Legarda concluded.
March 26, 2020 Thursday
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CCC Calls for Int’l Cooperation on Biodiversity Management Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
MANILA, 25 March 2020 – The Climate Change Commission (CCC) calls for bolder and more coordinated global action on sustainable biodiversity management  to avoid outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The call comes ahead of the United Nations Biodiversity Conference scheduled in October, where countries are set to adopt a post-2020 global biodiversity framework that seeks to bend the curve on biodiversity loss by 2030. However, travel restrictions and quarantine measures being implemented to contain COVID-19 have resulted in the postponement of several preparatory meetings for the upcoming conference. The World Health Organization has recently warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating as global cases breached the 350,000 mark and fatalities soared past 15,000. In the Philippines today, the Department of Health confirmed 90 new COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths yesterday, bringing the national total to 552 infected individuals with 35 fatalities. As governments around the world scramble to protect their citizens from the disease, more scientists and disease experts are attributing the emergence of new viruses and infectious diseases to the destruction of natural biodiversity and ecosystems worldwide. Data from the United States Agency for International Development showed that nearly 75 percent of all new, emerging, or re-emerging diseases affecting humans at the beginning of the 21st century are results of the transmission of pathogens from animals to humans.  In an interview with CNN, Professor Kate E. Jones, Chairperson of Ecology and Biodiversity at University College London underscored the inextricable link between healthy ecological systems and human well-being. “The chance of more [spillovers into humans] happening is higher because we are degrading these landscapes. Destroying habitats is the cause, so restoring habitats is a solution," she said. "It's not ok to transform a forest into agriculture without understanding the impact that has on climate, carbon storage, disease emergence and flood risk. You can't do those things in isolation without thinking about what that does to humans," she added.  Environmental and ecological stability is one of the seven strategic priorities of the Philippine National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) 2011-2028, which is now being updated by the CCC and relevant government agencies based on the latest climate science. In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on the Global Warming of 1.5 °C warned that climate change could exacerbate the adverse impacts of zoonotic diseases to public health, with health risks increasing at higher degrees of warming.  In response to this, the CCC has been advocating for the development and implementation of ecosystem-based adaptation solutions that are promotive of sustainable forest management, coastal habitat conservation, integrated resource management, and livelihood resilience. Moreover, the CCC is also calling for the stricter implementation of the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001 and the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992—landmark environmental laws authored by Global Champion For Resilience former Senator  Loren Legarda, now House Deputy Speaker and Antique’s congresswoman. The enforcement of said laws, according to the CCC, will not only ensure the conservation of the country’s biodiversity but will also mitigate the outbreak of public health emergencies linked to due to highly infectious pathogens in the future.
March 25, 2020 Wednesday
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CCC Helps Lanao del Norte LGUs Access Climate Change Adaptation Funds
CAGAYAN DE ORO, 23 MARCH 2020 – The Climate Change Commission (CCC) extended technical assistance to the local government units of the Province of the Lanao Del Norte on accessing the People's Survival Fund (PSF)—the country’s climate finance mechanism for local climate change adaptation projects. The technical assistance forms part of the Communities for Resilience Training Workshop held from 9 to 13 March 2020 in Cagayan De Oro, which capacitated municipal planning and development officers and municipal disaster risk reduction and management officers of Lanao Del Norte on formulating and/or enhancing Local Climate Change Action Plans. As part of the workshop, resource speakers from the CCC’s PSF Unit discussed the fundamentals of accessing the fund, including the considerations for designing risk-informed and viable climate change adaptation project proposals. Participants were also given the opportunity to present project ideas and draft PSF proposals for critiquing and mentoring. "Hindi na hadlang ang limited resources [to implement our plans] because mayroon namang inintroduce na People's Survival Fund na pwedeng mag-augment sa gaps," Ms. Donna Bella Aguilar, Tubod Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator, said at the sidelines of the PSF workshop.   Since the PSF grant approval and disbursement system was established in 2015, the PSF Board, which is chaired by the Department of Finance, has approved six climate change adaptation projects amounting to P330 million. It has also approved project development grants worth PHP6 million for three projects. Pursuant to its mandate under the law, the CCC has been working towards widening the scope of technical support to LGUs for accessing the PSF. In 2019, it rolled out one-on-one mentoring sessions and launched an e-Learning platform to assist LGUs in develop full-blown proposals from their concept notes. The one-on-one mentoring sessions, which are being implemented with the National Panel of Technical Experts (NPTE) and other development partners, aims to enhance the enhance the quality of submissions, based on the standards of the law. Coaching sessions are now ongoing for the Province of Occidental Mindoro and the Municipality of Tolosa, Leyte. The e-Learning Platform, meanwhile, provides a 12-week online course to enhance the knowledge of project proponents on climate and disaster risk and vulnerability assessment, the PSF and its approval processes, and other sources of climate finance. To date, the online course has served 50 individuals, mostly planning officers and disaster risk reduction and management officers of LGUs from the Yolanda corridor. The second batch of the PSF eLearning is now running with forty-five participants representing national government agencies, local government units, academic institutions, and civil society organizations. This will run until June 2020. The third batch will open on July 2020. For inquiries, interested groups could contact the PSF Unit through psf.ccc@gmail.com, or through their Facebook page, People's Survival Fund.
March 23, 2020 Monday
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Legarda on Int’l Day of Forests: Implement Stronger Wildlife Trade Regulations
March 23, 2020 - In observance of the International Day of Forests, with the theme “Forests and Biodiversity,” Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda urged governments and authorities to put in place and enforce stronger regulations on illegal wildlife trade to protect biodiversity and avoid public health crises such as the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) happening in the country and around the world.  Legarda said that COVID-19 had spread to 192 states and territories while more than 14,000 people have died due to the disease, which various sources reported to have originated from the illegal wildlife trade and market in China. Legarda cited a study by the conservation group World Wildlife Fund showing that the illegal wildlife trade is worth around 20 billion US dollars per year, contributing to a catastrophic decline in the populations of some species. “This public health emergency is a reminder of our intrinsic relationship with nature. As we observe the International Day of Forests, let us put a spotlight on the importance of protecting our forests and biodiversity to ensure food and resources for future generations, as well as avoid public health issues,” Legarda said.   Legarda said that forests are home to about 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and that more than a billion people depend directly on forests for food, shelter, energy and income. She however noted that the Philippines, although considered as a mega-diverse country in the world, is a biodiversity “hotspot” due to the alarming rate of destruction brought about by overexploitation, deforestation, land degradation, pollution, and climate change. Legarda, author of the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001 and the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 2018, called on governments, organizations, and local communities to strengthen efforts in the protection and conservation of the world’s forests and biodiversity. “Let us not allow the very foundation of our economies--livelihood, food security, water sufficiency, and health--to further decline. It is our responsibility to protect the delicate balance and relationship of humanity and the environment. Let us sustain life in our forests to provide for the present and future generations,” Legarda concluded.#
March 23, 2020 Monday
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World Water Day
 
March 22, 2020 Sunday
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International Day of Forests
   
March 20, 2020 Friday
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Legarda on World Water, Meteorological Day: Ensure Water Resilience Amid Climate Crisis
MANILA, 20 MARCH 2020 – In observance of World Water Day (March 22) and World Meteorological Day (March 23), Deputy Speaker and Lone District of Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda urged authorities, businesses, and citizens to pursue efforts that will help ensure the resilience of the country’s water resources amid the intensifying impacts of climate change. World Water Day celebrates the importance of water, while World Meteorological Day highlights the essential contribution of meteorological and hydrological services to the safety and well-being of society. The theme for both international observances is “Climate Change and Water.” “Water is our most valuable resource. We know how a shortage can easily disrupt our daily lives. As this climate crisis worsens, the risk for our water sources to run dry increases. These international observances urge us further to ensure that we have sufficient water for present and future generations,” said Legarda, who also authored the country’s Clean Water Act. Legarda said that one in three or 2.2 billion people in the world live without access to safe drinking water,  adding that, by 2050, up to 5.7 billion people could be living in areas where water is scarce for at least one month a year, which would create unprecedented competition for water.  For the Philippines, Legarda said that the country is projected to experience a “high” degree of water shortage by 2040 due to its rapid population growth and climate change, which will significantly impact the agriculture sector, according to the World Resources Institute.  While climate impacts and rising temperatures severely affect water quality and supply, Legarda also emphasized that water can help address the climate crisis. Among the water initiatives she mentioned include the protection and expansion of peatlands and mangrove soils, which can store more carbon than terrestrial soils; harvesting or collecting rainwater; reusing wastewater for irrigation and industrial purposes; adopting climate-smart agriculture practices; and protection and rehabilitation of watersheds through reforestation.   “To ensure water resilience is to uphold the right of all Filipinos to have adequate access to clean and safe drinking water. Especially in this time of climate crisis, let us act more urgently and decisively to protect the very resource that is giving us life,” Legarda concluded.  
March 20, 2020 Friday
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Legarda: Promote Climate Adaptation through Edible Landscapes and Community Gardens
March 18, 2020 - As global warming worsens and intensifies the present climate crisis, Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda said that national agencies, local governments, businesses, offices, industries, and households can establish edible landscapes and community gardens in order to help ensure food supply and ecosystem services, which are key thematic areas in the country's National Climate Change Action Plan.  Legarda said that community gardens and edible landscapes are spaces in urban and rural areas, as well as in households, that have been transformed to fruit and vegetable gardens where community members can partake.  She added that these could be one of the most effective ways to lessen the impacts of urbanization and climate change, especially in Metro Manila, adding that community gardens and edible landscapes can reduce urban heat, provide various ecosystem services, and stabilize water runoff. “For a climate vulnerable and developing country like the Philippines, we need more green infrastructure to raise climate change adaptation within our cities and municipalities. Various studies already show that green landscapes improve the quality of life and support economic growth due to a positive ambience influenced by a healthy environment,” Legarda said.  Legarda has authored the Food Forest Gardening bill in the House of Representatives as House Bill No. 637 (earlier filed in the Senate in 2017). The bill seeks to promote and institutionalize food forest gardening in the country as a sustainable land use system to address the limited resources for sustainable food production with minimal farming costs but increased harvests even in small plots of land. As Chair of Committee on Finance during her time in the Senate, she included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) the “Gulayan sa Paaralan” program as a special provision in the budget of the Department of Education.  She also supported the “Green, Green, Green” program of the Department of Budget and Management, which aims to promote the development of public open space projects and create more sustainable and liveable cities all over the country through the expansion and rehabilitation of 143 projects, which include 13 institutional open spaces, 21 public squares and plazas, 60 parks, 16 streetscapes, 30 waterfronts, and 2 mangrove parks. Legarda added that turning public spaces into green landscapes can also help alleviate hunger and malnutrition, as well as provide additional income and livelihood opportunities for poor families. She also mentioned that local authorities and residents play an important role in sustaining these initiatives. “Our local government units, businesses, the civil society, and all other stakeholders must converge to develop these green spaces for our people and society. Let us consider incorporating these landscapes into our offices and homes as we face and adapt to new challenges to our climate and public health,” Legarda said. Having her own edible backyard at home, Legarda said, "I can already eat what I plant and plant what I can feed for myself and my family. Simple fruits, vegetables, and crops, such as kamote, kangkong, and tomato can help ensure you have food on the table, while also helping protect our environment and climate," Legarda concluded.
March 18, 2020 Wednesday
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CCC: As in a Climate Crisis, Urgent Response Needed for COVID-19
MANILA, 17 March 2020 — The Climate Change Commission (CCC) supported the government’s call for stringent public health measures amid the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and stated that the urgent and decisive response of national and local authorities and the citizenry, as in a climate emergency, is needed to address the health crisis.  On Thursday, a day after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic, the Government of the Philippines raised the nation’s alert status to Code Red Sublevel 2, while also placing Metro Manila under “community quarantine” to minimize the spread of the disease. Community quarantine began at midnight of March 15 until April 14, 2020. According to WHO, there are already 168,019 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 6,610 related deaths in 146 countries. In the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 142 cases (PH141 and PH142 subject for confirmation) with 12 deaths, as of this writing. “Amid the alarming spread of COVID-19 in our country and in other parts of the world, we must cooperate with our public health and local government authorities and heed their advice to control the spread of the disease. As in a climate emergency, we must be resolute and resilient in responding to this public health emergency,” said Climate Change Secretary Emmanuel M. De Guzman.   Following directives from the national government, various local government units in Metro Manila are under community quarantine and have imposed curfew hours from 8:00pm to 5:00am.  Social distancing measures in public transportation are followed. Land and domestic air and sea travel in and out of the country’s capital are restricted. Skeleton staffing is adopted in government offices, and classes are suspended. Mass gatherings are disallowed. Secretary De Guzman recalled that the country experienced a surge in dengue cases in early 2019, which could be an indirect effect of climate change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its Fifth Assessment Report, local changes in temperature, rainfall and humidity, and extreme weather, have altered the distribution of some disease vectors. He added that scientists are also studying now any possible links between COVID-19 and climate change. “As global warming worsens, the risk for human infection from these diseases increases. Our public health system must be able to adapt to this phenomenon and to provide medical care to the increasing number of patients. Let us remain vigilant and resilient in these trying times,” De Guzman said.
March 17, 2020 Tuesday
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Legarda: COVID-19 a Reminder to Enable Climate-Friendly and Healthy Environments
March 14, 2020 - In light of the increasing number of cases of citizens afflicted with the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country and the world, Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda stated that COVID-19 is a reminder to strengthen efforts that could enable healthier, more sustainable, and more climate-friendly environments.  Legarda said that, while more studies are needed to analyze the correlation of climate change and COVID-19, existing climate science and research has already reported that higher temperatures already trigger the surge of other diseases, particularly vector-borne ones, such as dengue, malaria, cholera, and typhoid.  “Climate change fast tracks the spread of diseases caused by viruses and pathogens, which necessitates the same urgent action and response we are showing to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the country,” Legarda said. Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).  Common signs of coronavirus infection include flu-like and respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, it can cause pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.  Legarda also reiterated government advisories on proper hand washing, social distancing, and other public health safety measures:  •    Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. •    Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, if soap and water are not available. •    Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing and sneezing. •    Dispose tissue in a waste can. •    Maintain distance at least one (1) meter from individuals manifesting with flu-like symptoms. •    Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products from animals (i.e. uncooked meat) •    Adhere to local advisories and cooperate with the local public health authorities •    Disinfect home and work equipment daily. •    If you exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, such as cough, cold, fever and sore throat, seek appropriate medical care immediately and stay at home. Avoid close contact with other people around you. •    If you or any of your family members living with you have travelled and visited countries afflicted by the disease, submit yourself to 14 days of self-quarantine. •    Municipal mayors shall direct the Punong Barangays to ensure that the functions of Barangay Health Workers are properly implemented, especially in terms of monitoring clustering pneumonia/flu-like cases in their respective barangays and report immediately to the Health Office. •    All barangays shall conduct daily clean up and disinfection of their barangay halls. •    Private establishments, such as hotels, inns, resorts, restaurants, coffee shops, malls, banks, hospitals, markets and terminals shall follow protocols on disinfection and prevention of COVID-19 transmission. Thermal thermometers should be used to determine if a client is febrile or not. Alcohol and sanitizers should be made available to the public. •    Postpone all fiestas, meetings, summer outings, any mass gathering or face-to-face meetings. “COVID-19 reminds us of the urgency to lead a more climate-friendly, more sustainable, and healthier lifestyle. There still seems to be no end in sight for this health crisis, but we must remain vigilant and exercise proper hygiene to avoid spreading of the disease,” Legarda said.  According to Dr. Celia Carlos of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), there are only 1,200 available test kits as of now for the whole country, so only the severely symptomatic are being tested.  Additional kits are coming from the World Health Organization (WHO). "That means it is possible that covid-19 carriers  may be around us, without us knowing it. So it’s best to stay home, if able, away from any crowds, and observe stringent sanitary habits. Let’s also eat healthy and simplify our lives”, Legarda concluded.
March 14, 2020 Saturday
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CCC and Mayor Sara Duterte to Strengthen Climate Action and Peace-building in Davao Region
DAVAO CITY, 12 March 2020 — In response to the city’s request to discuss urban development challenges and to formulate strategic plans on climate action and peace-building, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) led by Secretary Emmanuel M. De Guzman and Commissioner Rachel Herrera met with Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte and the city planning and Peace 911 project teams on Tuesday. During the meeting, De Guzman committed to strengthen support to Davao City’s planning office in enhancing its local climate change action plan (LCCAP) and in developing a community-based adaptation project for possible funding by the People’s Survival Fund (PSF), an annual adaptation facility of one billion pesos in the national budget to support local government units (LGUs) in implementing climate change adaptation measures in vulnerable communities. The CCC and the City of Davao will jointly explore the potential of nature-based solutions to climate risks and impacts in the communities under Mayor Inday Sara’s counter-insurgency program “Peace 911” — a grassroots development initiative that aims to enhance the delivery of government services and infrastructure support in far-flung villages. The project is  centered in the city’s Paquibato District in compliance with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Executive Order 70, institutionalizing a Whole of Nation Approach in attaining Inclusive Sustainable Peace. Projected climate change impacts such as prolonged drought, severe rainfall, and sea level rise are seen to inhibit economic development and weaken the capacity of LGUs to promote peace and order in conflict-affected areas. Moreover, since the majority of the population in the Davao region depends on agriculture for livelihood, access to PSF would benefit and empower LGUs to increase the resilience of their people as well as to drive economic and social development.  During the meeting, the CCC also emphasized that climate action, aside from reducing disaster risk, also encompasses food security, water security, environmental and ecological stability, climate friendly industries and services, and sustainable energy, among other priority areas of intervention. “Ensuring that the city’s action plans are informed by the latest science and sensitive to prevailing and future risks is important to build the resilience of Davao’s communities to the impacts of climate change,” De Guzman said. ##
March 13, 2020 Friday
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CCC to Address Gathering of Climate and Biodiversity Advocates in Davao
March 10, 2020 - The Climate Change Commission (CCC) is set to address the participants of the 2020 National Meeting of the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE) for its Regional Advisory Committees (RAC) members, partner non-government and peoples organizations, and members of Expert Advisory Pool (EAP).      Climate Change Secretary Emmanuel M. De Guzman will deliver the keynote message today and will provide context on global and national climate change issues and opportunities, the country’s commitments and targets across sectors, and current and potential opportunities of the civil society to enhance their roles and engagement with government and other stakeholders at the international, national, and regional levels.  Commissioner Rachel Anne S. Herrera will present on national mechanisms on climate finance at the session “Climate Realities and the National Priorities and Actions,” where she will also share insights on emerging best practices for multi-stakeholder collaborations and engagements.  The gathering aims to discuss challenges on climate change and its impacts on biodiversity and communities; to exchange information, knowledge, and practices of national and local CSOs in addressing climate change; and to renew or establish networks among participants to better respond to the climate and biodiversity crisis in the near and long terms. The gallery of CSO Actions on Climate Change will also be opened to the participants.
March 10, 2020 Tuesday
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CCC Trains Lanao del Norte LGUs on Risk Science-informed Local Climate Change Action Plan
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, 10 March 2020 – More local government units (LGUs) pledged to enhance their local development plans during the week-long Enhanced Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP) Training Workshop.   Representatives from the LGUs of the Province of Lanao del Norte, academic institutions, civil society organizations, and the private sector participated in the event, which included lectures on climate change 101, climate and disaster risk assessment process, basic greenhouse gas inventory, climate change expenditure tagging, and a workshop on project proposal development for the People’s Survival Fund (PSF).   “This five-day Communities for Resilience Training Workshop is an essential step to find and adopt solutions that are viable to implement in our localities for we feel the urgency to do this,” said the Province of Lanao del Norte Governor Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo.   Said training is in line with the mandate of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) to further mainstream climate change and capacitate the LGUs in enhancing their LCCAPs.    In his opening message, Climate Change Commission (CCC) Secretary Emmanuel M. De Guzman shared that LCCAPs, a deliverable of LGUs under the Climate Change Act 2009, have increased ten folds in number from 137 in 2015 to 1,267 in 2019.   “The support of policy and decision makers at the highest level of the national government is critical in our pursuit of climate resilience and sustainable development for our communities. Likewise, key to a climate-resilient Filipino nation is strengthening the cooperation between and among our national government agencies, LGUs, and the science and academic community on mainstreaming climate change adaptation and mitigation in local development and investment planning across the country,” said De Guzman, highlighting the attendance of House Committee on Climate Change Secretary Erwin Lara to represent the Chairperson, Bohol Representative Edgar Chatto.   Aside from CORE, the CCC has also initiated programs which will help LGUs on enhancing LCCAPs and developing PSF project proposals.   Last year, CCC facilitated the formation of nationwide network of multi-stakeholder consortiums to promote and sustain climate science education, research and knowledge-sharing, policy advocacy, and providing advisory and mentoring services to LGUs. To date, CCC has already initiated the establishment of two consortiums – the Leyte and Northern Panay Climate Change Consortiums.   The CCC also issued a resolution adopting a National Climate Risk Management Framework which urges LGUs and national governments to undertake national and local risk assessments and formulate risk management strategies and interventions.   De Guzman said that enhanced LCCAPs are expected to further strengthen participatory local risk governance, enhance the resilience of rural livelihood, preserve the integrity of ecosystems, ensure the rich and resilient indigenous peoples’ culture, and strengthen early recovery planning.   “We need to work even smarter, and in unison with each other—to survive and thrive in this extremely challenging era of climate change. Now is the time to unite for climate action. Now is the time to unite for climate resilience,” De Guzman concluded.   “Climate emergency is real. The decisiveness of our action at the local levels must take place here and now, lest the extinction of the human race becomes irreversible,” said Rep. Chatto in his keynote message delivered by Lara.   This Communities for Resilience - Enhanced Local Climate Change Action Plan Training for the Local Government Units and Higher Education Institutions incorporates the country’s National Framework Strategy on Climate Change 2010-2022, National Climate Change Action Plan 2011-2028, and the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Plan 2011-2018.    The program also trails the post-2015 global frameworks for development: the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, Sustainable Development Goals 2030, and the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Secretary Emmanuel M. De Guzman's Message - eLCCAP Training for Lanao Del Norte LGUs
March 10, 2020 Tuesday
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CCC Pushes for Sustainable Dining and Low Carbon Food Service Sector
QUEZON CITY, 4 March 2020 – The Climate Change Commission (CCC) urged the pursuit of efficient and sustainable practices in food production and consumption during the Sustainable Diner Summit 2020 in Seda Vertis North. In his message, Climate Change Secretary Emmanuel M. De Guzman said that around 25 to 30 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to the food system, including food waste. This calls for more efficient and sustainable use of natural resources in food production, promotion of less meat-intensive diets toward one that is plant-based, and reduction, if not elimination, of food waste.  With food security as one of the thematic areas of the National Climate Change Action Plan, De Guzman said that the CCC is committed to assist the food sector in transitioning into a low-carbon and sustainable industry. “We are pursuing the development of national and local policies that will create an enabling environment for sustainable food value chains. We are finding pathways to combine supply-side actions such as efficient production, transport, and processing with demand-side interventions such as modification of food choices, and reduction of food loss and waste,” said De Guzman. Aside from these, CCC is also developing green building standards as well as promoting the greening of hotels, resorts and hospitals. With its mandate from the Green Jobs Law, the CCC is advancing green jobs with the ambition of transforming sectors and industries into low carbon and green economy, in parallel with its formulation of the country’s first Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). The Philippines’ NDC, a document that will communicate the country’s ambition for reducing carbon emissions on the basis of equity and in the context of sustainable development and poverty reduction, is being prepared in close coordination with the National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Transportation, and Department of Energy, along with the academe and civil society.  De Guzman also shared the importance of investing in a climate-smart future by mainstreaming climate change in development planning and investment programming. “Sustainability and climate-friendly development are where the smart money is headed for. Years of technological and policy innovation have created a completely new playing field for investments. Climate solutions are now often cheaper and provide greater socio-economic returns than carbon-intensive alternatives,” said De Guzman.   This Sustainable Diner Summit 2020 is part of The Sustainable Diner Project, funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU) as part of their International Climate Initiative (IKI), and implemented by the World Wide Fund for Nature-Philippines.
March 05, 2020 Thursday
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Legarda: Unlock Full Potential, Enhance Climate and Disaster Resilience of PH Indigenous Weaving Industry
MARCH 3, 2020 -  Deputy Speaker and Lone District of Antique Representative Loren Legarda, at the Women 2020: Forum on Women of Impact, urged the government and private sector to continue unlocking the full potential of the country’s indigenous weaving industry, while also ensuring that it remains sustainable and resilient in light of the intensifying impacts of climate change and disasters.  Legarda, strong advocate of Philippine indigenous weaving, textiles, and fabrics, made the statement at the forum session on “Fashion for Development in the Philippine Context,” alongside fellow panelists: Ms. Dita Sandico, President and CEO of Cache Apparel; Ms. Dina Bonnevie-Savellano, Founder of La Bon Vie; Ms. Sopheap Chen, Founder and Managing Director of the Kely Tambanh Khmer in Cambodia; Ms. Jeannie Javelosa, Lead of Great Women in the ASEAN Initiative; Mr. Anthony Legarda, fashion designer and textile technologist; Ms. Maribel Ongpin, Founder of HABI Textile Council; Ms. Alice Liu, Chief Marketing Officer of Penshoppe; and Ms. Bibi Russell, Founder of Bibi Productions in Bangladesh. Legarda mentioned her efforts to promote the industry, including authoring Republic Act (RA) No. 9242 or the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law, which promotes the country’s natural fabrics made of indigenous materials (abaca, banana and pineapple fibers); providing funding for cotton and silk processing centers and weaving materials; and supporting Schools of Living Traditions, providing assistance to indigenous weavers and artisans. “My home province is Antique where indigenous weaving is a living tradition. While there is already significant progress to advance the industry, more support and funding is needed to elevate it at a level that is comparable to the scale of operations in neighboring countries. We also need to ensure that we do this in a sustainable and climate-resilient manner,” said Legarda, who is also the principal author and sponsor of RA 9729 or the Climate Change Act, as amended. Legarda noted that, for climate vulnerable countries, like the Philippines, it is critical to strengthen adaptation and disaster risk reduction strategies at national and local levels to address the key drivers of disaster risk and vulnerability, namely: poor local risk governance, weak and vulnerable rural livelihoods, fast-declining ecosystems, and unprotected cultural heritage and indigenous peoples. She also urged the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA), the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI), and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to take the lead in further engaging the private sector and citizens to accelerate the growth of the indigenous weaving industry. Legarda also recommended to plant more indigenous species of piña, banana, and bamboo to produce fibers that can be the country’s unique selling point, adding that bamboo can also help prevent soil erosion and sequester carbon.  “Supporting the indigenous weaving industry is to honor the Filipinos and to recognize their skill and talent in producing fabrics and textiles that are truly world-class. As the industry is closely connected to our environment, climate change threatens its development and very existence. Let us continue honoring our indigenous artisans by ensuring that we protect this industry from the worsening climate crisis,” Legarda concluded.
March 03, 2020 Tuesday
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