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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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Legarda Pushes for a "Low Carbon Economy" Policy
QUEZON CITY,  27 FEBRUARY 2020 - Deputy Speaker and Lone District of Antique Representative Loren Legarda pushes for the promotion of “low carbon economy” through House Bill (HB) No. 2184, which she filed on July 16, 2019 at the House of Representatives. The bill aims to establish a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions emission cap-and-trade system in the industrial and commercial sector. Legarda explains that a clear policy path towards low carbon development is in line with the Philippines’ resolve to transition into a cleaner and climate-friendly future. The consideration of the bill comes at an auspicious time as the Philippine government finalizes its first Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), a commitment under the Paris Agreement, which defines the country’s emissions mitigation based on national needs and priorities. GHG mitigation options in the energy, agriculture, transport, industry, and waste sectors are explored under the NDC. “As a highly vulnerable country, the Philippines should pursue mitigation as a function of adaptation across these sectors. Efforts to avoid further emissions make good economic sense, promote a cleaner and healthier environment, and build the adaptive capacities of communities to climate impacts,” Legarda stressed. According to Legarda, incentivizing investments in low-carbon and innovative technologies, undertaking an environmental audit of government and private sector operations, and building stakeholders’ capacities for GHG mitigation are other interventions that could be looked into. Legarda said that, amid the climate crisis, the Philippine economy is growing at a considerable pace but that the challenge is to accelerate economic growth without compromising the state of our environment. “The Philippines may be a vulnerable country, but we are not incapable of taking action. Transitioning to a low carbon economy is crucial to our people as our nation treads on the path of sustainable, resilient, and inclusive growth,” Legarda said. “Crucial to this transition are bold initiatives that are taking root at the local level. We laud the initiatives of the provinces of Antique, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Ilocos Norte, Guimaras, Sorsogon, Bohol, and Occidental Mindoro on local pieces of legislation that ban the establishment of coal-fired power plants. The cities of Sorsogon, Masbate, Ozamiz also have similar coal-free ordinances,” Legarda said. The consideration of the HB 2184 and updates on the development of the NDC were discussed during today’s hearing of the House Committee on Climate Change.
February 27, 2020 Thursday
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Legarda Files Resolution Declaring Climate and Environmental Emergency
QUEZON CITY, 27 February 2020 - Deputy Speaker and Lone District of Antique Representative Loren Legarda on February 17 filed a resolution at the House of Representatives urging the declaration of a climate and environmental emergency and ensuring enhanced and coherent climate actions in the executive and legislative agenda of the government. Titled “A Resolution Declaring a Climate Emergency and Environmental Emergency and Calling for the Mobilization of Government Agencies and Instrumentalities and Local Government Units towards the Effective Implementation of Environmental, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Law in light of the Global Climate and Environmental Emergency,” House Resolution No. 724 supports the earlier call for the declaration of climate emergency by the National Panel of Technical Experts (NPTE), an advisory body of the Climate Change Commission (CCC).  In the resolution, Legarda said that “there is a growing consensus that the entire planet is under climate emergency and that failure to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and to build the adaptive capacities of communities to climate change would lead to unprecedented loss to human society, environment and global economy.” Legarda added that reducing the adverse effects of climate change will be critical policy objectives, following the findings of 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which stated that climate change will increase the poverty rate between now and 2100 and will jeopardize sustainable development. The resolution encourages the implementation of the CCC’s National Climate Risk Management Framework (NCRMF) for national government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to produce baseline studies and conduct climate risk assessments that consider future climate impacts and scenarios.  It also urges the government and LGUs to urgently mobilize and effectively implement existing laws on environmental protection, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and disaster risk reduction and management in the country. The resolution has been referred to the House Committee on Climate Change.
February 27, 2020 Thursday
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Inaugural Board Meeting of the Global Center on Adaptation to Convene in Paris
February 27, 2020 - The Inaugural Board Meeting of the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA)—which acts as a solutions broker among governments, the private sector, civil society, intergovernmental bodies, and knowledge institutions to enable climate change adaptation action—will be convened today in Paris, France.  The GCA supports the recommendations by the Global Commission on Adaptation, composed of world leaders in identifying solutions and enabling action towards adaptation and is led by former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Internal Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, and philanthropist Bill Gates.  Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda is a Commissioner of the Global Commission on Adaptation and a member of the Board of the Global Center on Adaptation. She will be represented at the meeting today by Philippine Ambassador to France Maria Theresa Lazaro.  To implement effective adaptation action, the GCA is working to address the following five main challenges: (1) scaling up ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA); (2) integrating climate adaptation into financial decision-making; (3) measuring effective adaptation; (4) creating climate-resilient cities; and (5) leveraging deltas to address climate change.  The meeting will include discussions on the GCA report “A Year in Review and the Year Ahead—Delivering on Climate Adaptation,” the 2020 Climate Adaptation Summit and the 2020-2030 Global Compact on Adaptation, the GCA’s Proposed Bold Ideas for Action, and other governance matters.  In September 2019, the Global Commission on Adaptation, in their flagship report “Follow the Sun,” reported that investing US$1.8 trillion globally in five areas, from 2020 to 2030, could generate $7.1 trillion in total net benefits. These areas are early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, dryland agriculture, mangrove protection, and water resilience. “The GCA is an important platform to accelerate and inspire adaptation innovations at the global scale. It is crucial for the Philippines to take an active role and influence efforts to combat the global climate crisis,” Legarda said.
February 27, 2020 Thursday
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CCC Bans Single-Use Plastics in Office-Wide Operations
MANILA, 19 February 2020 — As part of its ongoing climate action and sustainability efforts, the Climate Change Commission-Climate Change Office (CCC-CCO) imposed a ban on single-use plastics in its office operations. Office Order No. 2020-010 entitled Office Waste Management System dated 24 January 2020 prohibits the use of disposable plastics, such as plastic straws, stirrers, utensils, food wrappers, grocery bags, instant food packaging, lids, drinking bottles and caps, within the CCC-CCO premises and during the conduct of official meetings, conferences, and other activities. The Order also provides that unavoidable plastics used in office operations must be reused, recycled, and disposed of properly, in accordance with Republic Act No. 9003, otherwise known as the Philippine Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. “Although we have been avoiding single-use plastics ever since, we saw the need to institutionalize this practice to instill sustainable consumption as a way of life among our staff and partners and lessen our carbon footprint from unnecessary plastic use,” CCC Secretary Emmanuel M. De Guzman said. Plastic wastes exacerbate climate change. When mixed with other wastes in the landfills, plastics release methane, a greenhouse gas that is at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. According to a report released by the Ocean Conservancy in 2017, the Philippines was among the top plastic-waste producers in the world alongside neighboring Asian countries, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. The CCC has repeatedly called for the private sector to come up with innovative, game-changing, and sustainable measures that would eliminate the problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging. “Banning single-use plastics is just the first step toward tackling the plastic crisis. Moving forward, there is an urgent need for retailers and manufacturers to take the lead in innovating our production and distribution systems to eliminate plastic wastes,” De Guzman added.
February 19, 2020 Wednesday
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Filipino Scientists Urge Declaration of Climate Emergency
QUEZON CITY, 19 February 2020 — The National Panel of Technical Experts (NPTE), composed of the country’s leading climate scientists who have contributed to several reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recently called for the declaration of a climate emergency in the country.  The NPTE submitted a resolution entitled Declaration of a Climate Emergency and the Immediate Need to Consolidate Government Data to Generate a Nationwide Climate Risk Assessment to the Climate Change Commission (CCC) during their First Quarterly Meeting last 05 February 2020. The resolution proposed using the term climate emergency instead of the term climate change to emphasize the urgency of the climate problem. It pointed out that as of 2019, forty-one (41) countries, including twenty-eight (28) European Union member states have already declared a climate emergency. The resolution also urged the government to mobilize its people, institutions, and resources to identify cities and municipalities that are most at risk from the prevailing climate emergency.  Noting that the CCC is in the best position to gather and analyze data sets from national government agencies and produce baseline climate risk assessments at a city/municipality scale, the resolution also recommended that the lead agency assembles a team of GIS specialists, remote sensing image analysts, and data scientists to work on the gathering, integration, and initial analysis of data. Dr. Carlos Primo David, chair of the NPTE, ensured the CCC during the meeting that the NPTE will provide technical guidance and assistance in analyzing the data sets and in identifying climate risks. Welcoming the NPTE resolution, CCC Secretary Emmanuel M. De Guzman said that a nationwide climate risk assessment will inform national and local development and investment planning and will enable more local government units to access the People’s Survival Fund, the country’s financing mechanism for local adaptation solutions established by law in 2012.
February 19, 2020 Wednesday
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Legarda Urges Strong Wildlife Trade Regulation to Halt Future Public Health Crises
QUEZON CITY, 19 February 2020 – Deputy Speaker and Lone District of Antique Representative Loren Legarda highlighted the possible connection between unsustainable use of wildlife for food and the COVID-19 in her privilege speech on Monday, 17 February. The COVID-19, or the coronavirus disease 2019, a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei, China in December last year, has infected more than 49,000 people in 28 countries and territories around the world and has claimed the lives of more than a thousand people, including a Chinese national who died here in Manila. “As the courageous workers in our health care system and local governments tackle the dangers, we as Filipinos and human beings must also recognize a historic opportunity to rethink our relationship with nature, and the lifestyles that compel us to kill wildlife to sell and consume as food or medicine,” said Legarda. “As we continue to stand in solidarity with the international community in containing this outbreak and in ensuring the safety of the Filipino people, we must reflect on the causes of this outbreak and on ways to avoid and overcome future and interconnected threats,” Legarda continued.  Illegal smuggling, trafficking, and poaching of wild animals are still operational and remain rampant across many Asian countries and across the globe. Experts say that there is a high likelihood that the COVID-19 came from the illegal wildlife trade, as people are eating various kinds of wildlife. “This ongoing public health crisis is only one of many that will beset us if we continue to ignore the warnings of scientists. If we continue on the path to a warming planet as we seem to be doing, we could use this crisis in three ways: as a test of our current coping mechanisms, as a drill for future crises, and as a wake-up call to the connection of this public health crisis to the destruction of biodiversity and ecosystems on which we all depend,” Legarda exclaimed. Legarda also emphasized that overcoming threats like the COVID-19 will require functioning local ecosystems, local sufficiency of prime commodities, avoidance of mass hysteria and the ability to survive lockdowns. She also encouraged the international organizations and communities to make the necessary shift and step up efforts toward successfully regulating the trade in wildlife, such as: • Reinforce the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) on transformative change in wildlife conservation and management and in combating wildlife trafficking on all fronts. This should be the primary legal framework for regulating international trade in species of wild animals and plants. Our country should take decisive steps to ensure effective wildlife trade controls on all fronts. • Ensure an ambitious, meaningful, and inclusive post-2020 global biodiversity framework. This year, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity will adopt a post-2020 global biodiversity framework as a stepping stone towards the 2050 Vision of “living in harmony with nature”. Armed with the latest science enriched by indigenous knowledge systems, we must deepen our understanding of our ecosystems and what levels of change they can sustain. We need to ensure equitable access and benefits associated with biodiversity. • Develop science-based standards, guidelines and recommendations on disease prevention, detection, and control that will enable governments to safeguard biodiversity and public and animal health worldwide. This includes policy frameworks on disease risk management specifically catering to the interface among wildlife, domestic animals, and humans. “We can start”, she continued, “with two bills I aim to file in the coming days, revising the wildlife act to include better detection and higher penalties, and to create a new bureau in the DENR to ensure swift, fair and certain enforcement for effective deterrence.” She said that these measures will not only strengthen the international effort to tackle illegal wildlife trade and prevent public health crises, but also contribute to the sustainability of our planet. “Also, DOH should give flesh to Sec 31d of the Universal Health Care Law mandating adequate funding support for participatory action research on high impact, cost effective health promotion measures, one of which can be outbreak prevention by finding causes in wildlife consumption,” Legarda added. “We have ignored the laws of nature to our peril. It is time to heed her warnings: do not eat what is not intended for human consumption, do not trade what should not be traded. We must relearn to coexist with animals, and their habitats.” “We have many laws in place already but we need to treat them as measures for survival rather than mere obstacles to the relentless pursuit of an economic future that will be mired in new dangers. We will not survive this and other coming changes unless we value the intricate interrelationships of all life on earth, unless we see that the rules of the game have changed and we need a fundamental shift in the way we live. From what we eat, how we travel, how we manage our discards, to how we do business and treat each other, this august body has to forge new ways to support these changes with policy,” said Legarda. Privilege Speech of Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda on COVID-19 and Biodiversity Conservation
February 19, 2020 Wednesday
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Legarda: Global Climate Risk Index Underscores Need to Scale Up PH Adaptation
Deputy Speaker and Lone District of Antique Representative Loren Legarda today said that the Philippines’ ranking in the Global Climate Risk Index 2020[1] released by the Germanwatch organization, further reveals the country’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and underscores the need to accelerate and strengthen adaptation measures, especially at the community level. Legarda said that the report analyzes the extent countries have been affected by impacts of weather-related events, such as storms, floods, and heatwaves, for the year 2018 and for a twenty-year period from 1999 to 2018. The report ranked the Philippines 2nd among countries most affected by climate change in 2018 (from 20th in 2017), with Japan and Germany ranking 1st and 3rd, respectively; and 4th most affected from 1999 to 2018 (from 5th in the previous period of 1998-2017), together with Puerto Rico (1st), Myanmar (2nd), Haiti (3rd), and Pakistan (5th) in the list. Legarda said that Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut)—the most powerful typhoon recorded in 2018—influenced the Philippines’ score for that year, while other typhoons, such as Pablo (Bopha) in 2012 and Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013, have affected the country’s score for the twenty-year period from 1999 to 2018. The report also noted that the Philippines is “recurrently affected by catastrophes” and is “still in the process of recovering from the previous year’s impacts” and has therefore “continuously rank(ed) among the most affected countries both in the long-term index and in the index for the respective year.” “While the report has a comprehensive take on countries’ vulnerability from rapid weather-related events, it has yet to factor in impacts from slow onset climate events, such as sea level rise and warmer and more acidic oceans, which, for an archipelagic nation like ours, could spell greater danger to our communities. What is clear, however, is that we need to ramp up efforts on adaptation and building genuine climate resilience within our vulnerable communities,” Legarda explained. Legarda expressed the need to implement the Climate Change Commission’s National Climate Risk Management Framework (NCRMF), which aims to produce a comprehensive assessment of climate risks (in terms of hazards, exposures, and vulnerabilities) in the Philippines by consolidating datasets across government agencies, local government units, academic and research institutions, and civil society organizations. She also urged to access more climate funds to finance adaptation projects in the country through the local People’s Survival Fund (PSF) and the international Green Climate Fund (GCF), adding that our proactive stance for additional climate finance for loss and damage (unavoidable and residual effects of climate impacts) must also continue and prosper. Legarda also shared the earlier flagship report by the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), where she also performs as Commissioner, which reported that investing USD1.8 trillion in five areas of adaptation—early warning systems, infrastructure, improving dry-land agriculture, restoring and protecting mangroves, and water—could prevent USD7 trillion in losses and damages by 2050. “It is every nation’s responsibility to stop this climate crisis from further escalating. As they say, the best adaptation is still mitigation because reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would also minimize the scale and intensity of the climate impacts we have to face. While we continue to urge developed nations to do their fair share in climate action, we must also remain steadfast in pushing for both adaptation and mitigation to our communities down to the very last mile,” Legarda concluded.
February 06, 2020 Thursday
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CCC: Transformative Action Key to Effective Climate Adaptation
January 30, 2020 - At the workshop for the Formulation of Local Climate Change Actions for Davao City held today, Climate Change Commissioner Rachel Herrera said that addressing the climate crisis requires us to change the way we think and work and that transformative action is key to effective climate change action.   The City Government of Davao, in partnership with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)-Japan and Malayan Colleges Mindanao, organized the two-day workshop with the aim of deepening the understanding of climate change causes, impacts, and risks for the city, as well as gather support and commitment for its Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP).  “Adaptation, done right, saves lives and protects the place we call home. Adaptation, done right, creates opportunity, and builds a better future for us all. Our choice is clear: Do we delay and pay, or plan and prosper?” Herrera said.  “It is now a must for local government units, especially cities being economic hubs with a huge population, to act now to adapt to climate change. It is now a must for LGUs to integrate nature-based solutions into spatial planning, investments, and infrastructure implementation to reduce climate risks. We must put premium in ensuring that the ecosystem services—or the wealth that comes from nature–will not be derailed by the impacts of climate change,” Herrera added.  Herrera cited findings from the Philippine Climate Change Assessment, a three-volume report that the Climate Change Commission (CCC) produced together with the Oscar M. Lopez  (OML) Center, which identified Davao del Sur as one of the most vulnerable to drought and tropical cyclones.  The report further indicated that reduced rainfall, increasing temperature, and increasing frequency of drought conditions in the region can lead to risks of grass, bush, or forest fires in highly vulnerable forest areas; reduced productivity in agricultural areas; reduced productivity in community-based forest management (CBFM) areas; and slower growth and development of industrial forestry areas.  Moreover, Davao City is also listed as one of the top 25 cities with the largest population exposure to storm surges caused by strong winds from typhoons, which can pose risks on human health, such as surge in dengue fever transmission; respiratory diseases, such as asthma and bronchitis; and heat-related illnesses, such as heat stress and dehydration. “What is alarming is that, if planning, financing, and production across economies will go business-as-usual, our average global temperature is on track to increase by at least 3 to 4 degrees Celsius towards the end of the century—twice of what climate experts have warned as the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit to avoid the most severe economic, social, and environmental consequences,” Herrera explained. “The threat may be global, but we know that a truly effective response must be local. We must therefore recognize the crucial role of local government units in ensuring that our communities are aware and able to adapt to climate impacts, being in the frontlines in this fight,” Herrera added.   Commissioner Herrera also mentioned the CCC’s flagship program, the Communities for Resilience (CORE) Program, which aims to strengthen the capacity of local leaders and planners in mainstreaming climate change in development planning and investment programming processes, as well as ensure that the LCCAPs of LGUs are science-based and risk-informed as these will serve as good foundations towards accessing climate finance, such as our national People’s Survival Fund (PSF).   Herrera also commended Davao City for its proactive work to include climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster risk reduction (CCAM-DRR) into local development plans, as well as accomplishing a comprehensive climate and disaster risk assessment and identifying adaptation and mitigation priority actions for the city.  “Our workshop today will further strengthen Davao’s commitment towards sustainable development, where nature is a stakeholder, and ensuring that no Davaoeño is left behind. It is also our hope that Davao will become a prime example to encourage other LGUs to follow suit in moving towards scaled up actions in climate change adaptation and mitigation, so that we can be one step closer to our vision of a climate-resilient Philippines,” Herrera concluded.
January 30, 2020 Thursday
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