Young Filipino Innovators in 31st episode of ‘Stories for a Better Normal’ Series
MANILA, 19 January 2021 — Young Filipino inventors, researchers, and entrepreneurs will gather virtually to demonstrate innovative technologies in renewable energy, ecological solid waste management, and climate change adaptation and mitigation on the 31st episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Change Pathways” with the topic, “Young Innovators for a Sustainable Future.” The episode, hosted by House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, will air on Thursday, 21 January 2021, 10:00 AM via Facebook Live at facebook.com/CCCPhl and facebook.com/conglorenlegarda. Joining the online conversation are young innovators including Jovie Gil Montajes,  Founder of Light of Hope PH and Climate Reality Leader; Engr. Reijiel Gonzalez, Founder of Waste Cleantech and WAYSTE App, and Climate Reality Leader; Marie Sapuay,  Developer of Trash Panda; Glenn Ongpin, Co-founder and CEO of Cloop; and Wilvie Añora, Co-founder and Strategy head of AtoAni Biopack to discuss and promote their climate-friendly innovations. In previous episodes, the online series tackled food gardening and saving seeds, permaculture, good nutrition and diet, planting native trees, practical sustainability, narrating risk to resilience stories through books, tree pest and disease management, reviving indigenous textiles and crafts, transforming waste into wages, championing sustainable urban mobility, food waste reduction and management, transforming food supply chain, and responsible gardening. For this episode, Legarda and esteemed guests will discuss the essential role of innovation, and green and sustainable technologies to address specific environmental and climate change-related issues. This episode will recognize the young Filipino innovators behind climate-friendly technologies and sustainable entrepreneurial ventures in the areas of renewable energy, and ecological solid waste management, among other climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts. As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, "Stories for a Better Normal" aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a ‘better normal’ can be realized within our communities. This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission, with support from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, The Climate Reality Project-Philippines and Mother Earth Foundation.
January 19, 2021 Tuesday
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Statement on the Philippine Nationally Determined Contributions
January 15, 2021 Friday
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Dominguez, CCC Bat for a Plastic-Free Philippines
The Climate Change Commission imposed a plastic ban in its office operations through Office Order No. 2020-010 entitled Office Waste Management System dated 24 January 2020. Disposable plastics, such as plastic straws, stirrers, utensils, food wrappers, grocery bags, instant food packaging, lids, drinking bottles and caps are prohibited within the CCC-CCO premises during the conduct of official meetings, conferences, and other activities.   MANILA, 15 January 2021 — During the 72nd Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) Inaugural Meeting 2021 and Induction of 2021 MAP Board of Governors, Finance Secretary and Chairperson-designate of the Climate Change Commission Carlos G. Dominguez said that the CCC will be pushing for a nationwide ban on single-use plastics.   “While we are pursuing more sustainable practices during this pandemic, why not push ourselves even further by addressing our perennial problem on plastic pollution? Plastic waste clogs our waterways resulting in massive flooding. It kills marine life and threatens biodiversity, as well as causes global warming from the burning of fossil fuels to produce and transport these plastics. This will create more problems in the future, entailing more public costs and resources from us, if we don’t address this problem now,” Dominguez explained.   For the CCC, single-use plastics such as sachets, thin shopping bags, and plastic "labo" bags, are a waste, public health, and climate change problem.   The report “Plastic Exposed: How Waste Assessments and Brand Audits (WABA) are Helping Philippines Cities Fight Plastic Pollution” by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) found that Filipinos use around 59.7 billion pieces of sachets yearly. The report also stated that Filipinos use 20.6 billion pieces of shopping bags and 16.5 pieces of "labo" bags a year, approximately eight million tons of which end up in the ocean, impacting ecosystems and killing millions of sea birds, sea mammals, and fish.   The climate body views plastic pollution as a serious climate-related concern, with the production and distribution of single-use plastics linked to fossil fuel extraction and transport, and contributing to the world’s increasing greenhouse gas levels. The improper and inadequate disposal and management of single-use plastics also pollutes the environment and disrupts ecosystems, resulting in significant biodiversity loss.   The World Economic Forum (WEF) has highlighted the need for governments to ensure that waste management systems are well supported to deal with current and future plastic waste, especially with the significant increase in plastic pollution from home deliveries and medical waste due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   Chairperson Dominguez also noted that many local government units have already issued ordinances to regulate or ban single-use plastics, and government agencies have adopted national policies to support this, such as the National Solid Waste Management Commission Resolution No. 1363 directing the ban on unnecessary single-use plastics in national and local government agencies and units, and the CCC Resolution on Adopting a Circular Economy.   The DOF and CCC fully support legislative measures for a phase out of single-use plastics and for extended producer’s responsibility that will cover large-scale collection, sorting, and recycling or reusing of plastics. In the Senate, proponents include Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Climate Change Chair Cynthia Villar; and Senators Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Manny Pacquiao, Lito Lapid, Risa Hontiveros, and Francis Pangilinan; while in the House of Representatives, Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco, Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, and Committee on Ecology Chair Glona Labadlabad, have each filed their versions on banning single-use plastics and extended producer’s responsibility along with many other representatives, so that there are at least 38 bills pending.   Dominguez urged top corporations, many of which are producers and retailers of plastic-based products, to take the lead in the private sector for the anti-single use plastics initiative and not wait for incentives from the government.   “Corporations have the means and the responsibility to design a system where their products do not pollute our lands and seas and aggravate our problems on public health and climate change. They should not wait for any incentives from the government if it’s for the greater good and welfare of all Filipinos,” Dominguez concluded.
January 15, 2021 Friday
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Legarda: Be really mindful now of those plastics
A 6-hectare open dumpsite in Brgy. Sahud-Ulan, Tanza, Cavite was closed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for violating RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. Photo from the Facebook Page of DENR.   MANILA, 15 January 2021 — Too much plastics now gravely spoiling the environment, and Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda is calling for a strict regulation of plastic production and a strict implementation of the government’s single-use of plastics policy. “There must be a more stringent regulation on the use of plastic bags to curb pollution and mitigate the harmful effects of marine litter,” she said in a press statement. Legarda said there is now an urgent need to address the effects of plastic production and wastes which have significantly contributed to pollution, especially carbon emissions, and in destruction of marine life.  At present, there are 38 House bills and resolutions and seven Senate bills which are all seeking to regulate the use of plastics.  Among these is the proposed Single-Use Plastics Regulation and Management Act of 2019 under House Bill No. 635 which Legarda has already filed to strictly regulate the production, importation, sale, and use of plastic bags. It seeks to phase out single-use plastics and encourages the use of native reusable bags made of organic or recycled materials, and reusable containers made of glass or non-toxic and non-hazardous materials. “We have relied so much on the oceans for our existence – for food, for livelihood, for energy, and for recreation,” she said. “However, our throwaway culture and rapid population growth along with unsustainable marine practices such as overfishing, waste dumping, oil spills, among others, have seriously damaged marine habitats and life in the sea over the years,” she added. Legarda said single-use plastics continue to be a waste management problem in the country. Despite the negative effects of plastics, the majority of Filipinos are still dependent on the "sachet economy," a form of single-use plastic. The affordability, convenience, and strong market presence of sachets makes them easy choices for low-income households. In 2019, 164 million pieces of sachets were used and discarded in the Philippines. The average national per capita sachet consumption is 1.64 per day, but this increases to 6 in highly urbanized areas. “But this should be addressed, managed and improved”, she said. “The Earth will not just heal on its own without any effort on our part to stop marine pollution. It is our primary responsibility to protect and preserve our environment. Let us push for the use of numerous alternatives to non-biodegradable plastic bags like our baskets, bayong, eco-bags, paper bags, cloth bags or katsa, bags made of recycled tetrapacks, and many others,” Legarda said. “We just have to be innovative and resourceful in finding substitute packaging materials or containers. While there is time, let us prevent our oceans from choking on plastics we humans only use once,” she added. She said plastic products have exceedingly long lifetimes, such as ordinary beverages plastic bottles, of up to 450 years. Other forms of plastic disintegrate under the action of weather, sun and waves into tiny particles called microplastics which are eaten by fish, and that makes it very dangerous to humans, she said. Approximately eight million tons of plastic waste end up in the ocean, destroying marine ecosystems and negatively affecting the marine food chain. Plastics are also a climate-related concern as its production, refining, and manufacture is a source of greenhouse gas emissions as it uses fossil fuel in extraction and transport. Greenhouse gas emissions from the plastic lifecycle threaten the ability of the global community to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C. By 2050, the greenhouse gas emissions from plastic could reach over 56 gigatons, which is 10-13% of the entire remaining carbon budget. “The worsening issue of pollution further aggravated by natural hazards should serve as our wake-up call. The proposed bill also provides an ambitious yet comprehensive approach to solving our problem on single-use plastics, which involves actions from national and local governments, industries, business enterprises and consumers for the manufacturing, selling, use, recycling, and disposal of all single-use plastics in our country,” Legarda said. As of 2015, the solid waste diversion rate in Metro Manila is at 48 percent while outside Metro Manila the rate is at 46 percent. Legarda said the Ecological Solid Waste Management Law (RA 9003), of which she is the principal author, requires that at least 25 percent of all solid wastes from waste-disposal facilities are diverted or recovered through reuse, recycling, composting, and other resource-recovery activities. “Implementation of the law is key as we all try to strive for a zero-waste, plastic-free lifestyle. I hope for the support from the government and all sectors on this urgent policy,” she said.
January 15, 2021 Friday
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Message on the observance of the National Zero Waste Month
 
January 13, 2021 Wednesday
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Legarda: Gov’t leaders must scale up implementation of laws to curb wildlife trafficking, emergence of COVID-like diseases
Twenty-eight year-old Pag-asa, first-ever Philippine eagle bred and hatched in captivity died on Wednesday night. Pag-asa is a renowned figure in wildlife conservation fight in the Philippines. Photo from the Philippine Eagle Foundation.   MANILA, 12 January 2021 — Deputy Speaker and Lone District of Antique Representative Loren Legarda strongly called on law enforcement authorities to strengthen the implementation of wildlife-related laws and policies, and intensify the campaign to fight illegal wildlife trade to help prevent the possible emergence of another global pandemic through zoonotic diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention based in the United States, zoonotic diseases (also known as zoonoses) such as COVID-19 are caused by harmful viruses, bacterial, parasites, and fungi which can cause many different types of illnesses in people and animals, ranging from mild to serious illness and even death. These diseases are transmitted to humans due to the close connection between people and animals, through: Direct contact: Coming into contact with the saliva, blood, urine, mucous, feces, or other body fluids of an infected animal. Indirect contact: Coming into contact with areas where animals live and roam, or objects or surfaces that have been contaminated with germs. Examples include aquarium tank water, pet habitats, chicken coops, barns, plants, and soil, as well as pet food and water dishes. Vector-borne: Being bitten by a tick, or an insect like a mosquito or a flea. Foodborne: Eating or drinking something unsafe, such as unpasteurized (raw) milk, undercooked meat or eggs, or raw fruits and vegetables that are contaminated with feces from an infected animal. Contaminated food can cause illness in people and animals, including pets. Waterborne: Drinking or coming in contact with water that has been contaminated with feces from an infected animal. Studies have shown that wild animals consumed as food have been suspected to be responsible for the COVID-19 virus. But despite considerable research progress on COVID-19, the direct animal origin (intermediate host) of the virus remains ambiguous. Legarda echoed the view of experts that the spread of the COVID-19 should serve as a wake-up call to everyone to stop the proliferation of illegal wildlife trade and consumption of exotic foods. The laws on Philippine wildlife protection and conservation must be strictly implemented, amid the escalating threats of biodiversity loss and the global pandemic due to zoonotic diseases. Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources and Protection Act defines and penalizes illegal wildlife trade. Under the law, unlawful trading, possession and transport of wildlife species, as well as their derivatives and by-products, are punishable by a jail term of up to two years and a fine of not more than P200,000. Legarda said that despite domestic laws and international trade regulations protecting the country’s wildlife, poaching and illegal trade continue. Difficulties in investigation, few successful arrests and prosecutions, and low penalties pose a challenge to efforts to curb wildlife trafficking in the country. "Anyone who has had a loved one die of this disease knows the pain deeply and we owe it to them to make sure we do everything in our power to reduce the chances of another outbreak from lackluster enforcement of wildlife laws," she stressed. As the country works around the clock to provide adequate responses to arrest the spread of COVID-19 virus, Legarda said the government should also lead in addressing economic challenges and jumpstart resilient solutions to build back better and prevent zoonotic diseases.
January 12, 2021 Tuesday
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‘Stories for a Better Normal’ returns online with new episodes hosted by Legarda
MANILA, 11 January 2021 — The discussion to promote environmental consciousness, sustainability, and climate-adaptive practices in the better normal continues next Thursday, January 14, 2021 with Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda hosting the online series “Stories for a Better Normal” aired via Facebook Live at facebook.com/CCCPhl and facebook.com/conglorenlegarda.   A partnership between the Climate Change Commission and Office of Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, with support from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, The Climate Reality Project-Philippines and Mother Earth Foundation, the “Stories for a Better Normal” is a two-hour weekly online feature series that aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a ‘better normal’ can be realized within our communities.   For its 30th episode with the theme, “Reset, Restart, Renew,” Stories will welcome the new year with inspiring stories of climate action, environmental sustainability, and innovation.   Nanette Medved-Po, Founder of Plastic Credit Exchange, Inc. (PCEx); Earl Patrick Forlales, Co-Founder and CEO of Cubo Modular; and Chef Myke ‘Tatung’ Sarthou, bestselling author, culinary heritage advocate, and online cooking show host of Simpol will join the online conversation to discuss plastic credits, bamboo housing, and sustainable dining habits, respectively.   Amid the challenges of 2020 – the climate emergency, COVID-19 pandemic, plastic pollution, and biodiversity loss, among others -- there are reasons to hope as we head into the new year. As the start of a new decade, the year 2021 is a turning point for global cooperation and enhanced climate action.   Moreover, the United Nations declares 2021-2030 as the “Decade on Ecosystem Restoration,” which challenges everyone to massively scale-up restoration efforts that breathe new life into our degraded ecosystems.   In the upcoming episode, Legarda and the guests will demonstrate practical ways to live in a more sustainable, climate-friendly way for us to start the year and the decade with a call to action at the individual and community levels.   For more information on “Stories for a Better Normal”, visit the official Facebook pages of Congresswoman Loren Legarda and the Climate Change Commission or through our YouTube channels (youtube.com/senatorlorenlegarda and youtube.com/cccphl).
January 11, 2021 Monday
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CCC on Financing the Earth’s Assets: Support Sustainable Finance Based on Natural Wealth
Part of the 4,871 hectares of contiguous mangrove stand in the municipality of Del Carmen in Siargao. Photo from https://www.visitdelcarmen.com/. MANILA, 4 January 2020 – A report titled, “Financing the Earth’s Assets: The Case for Mangroves as a Nature-based Climate Solution” reveals that regeneration of mangrove forests around the world could result in an $11.8 billion return by 2040 if carbon markets reflected the true value of nature.   The report, issued by Earth Security in December 2020, makes a strong investment case for tapping the potential of mangroves in the fight against climate change. As a carbon asset, mangrove forests have the potential to unlock 380 million tCO2 of sequestration by 2040. Five key markets that were identified for mangroves are nature-based investment funds, blue bonds (a subset of the green and climate bonds market), insurance, carbon market investors, and philanthropy.   Long valued as a natural defense on the coastline, mangroves help communities reduce the impacts of climate change, specifically in slowing down global heating, shielding communities against extreme weather conditions, halting the extinction of biodiversity, and supporting local economies.   The report identifies 40 locations across the world to form the “Mangroves 40 Cities Network”, including Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. This network will support the regeneration of mangrove forests through different projects within the locations chosen for their proximity to existing mangroves. Siargao Islands in Surigao Del Norte is also recognized in the report as an example of best practices in local mangrove regeneration, with key insights from the Municipality of Del Carmen.   Earth Security also proposes the development of a Municipal Mangrove Bond Fund to finance nature-based adaptation and provide the opportunity to pool different levels of investment risks across developed and emerging markets, creating a product that is viable in global fixed income markets.   The Climate Change Commission (CCC) welcomed the findings of the report, as it puts emphasis on nature-based solutions in the fight against climate change. The CCC further supports the call for collaboration among cities and towns worldwide that are home to mangrove forests, to enable a financing and regulatory environment that will ensure the advancement of programs and policies that aim to build climate and disaster resilience in local communities. As countries continue the difficult work to recover from the economic setbacks caused by COVID-19 pandemic, both human and natural systems must be strengthened to lessen the environmental, humanitarian, and economic impacts of climate change.
January 04, 2021 Monday
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CCC: Choose local, sustainable products over single-use plastics this holiday season
Indigenous products exhibited during the National Arts and Crafts Fair 2018. Photo from the presentation of Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda during the Stories For A Better Normal. MANILA, 23 December 2020 — The Climate Change Commission (CCC) encourages the buying public to purchase locally-made and sustainable products over plastics to contribute to efforts to solve the climate crisis.   As the festive season nears, the CCC urges the public to reduce solid waste and the accumulation of unnecessary plastic packaging and excessive purchase of plastic products by buying only those made of sustainable materials, including the ones created by our indigenous peoples (IP) and local communities.   The climate agency stressed that purchasing these products not only boosts the local economy but also increase appreciation of our culture, heritage, and identity which have been passed down through generations.   Moreover, buying IP products ensures quality and promotes sustainability as most of these are made by hand with the absence of harmful chemicals that may pollute our lands and waters, if inappropriately disposed.   According to the United Nations Environment Programme, 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastics have been produced over the decades, and 6.3 billion metric tonnes has become plastic wastes.   Only 9% of this has been recycled, while about 12% has been incinerated, while the rest — 79% — are accumulating in landfills, dumps, or the natural environment, particularly our oceans. If the current trend continues, oceans are projected to carry more trash than fish by 2050.   A study by the Center for International Environmental Law states that current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the plastic lifecycle threaten the ability of the global community to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C – the ask of the Paris Agreement. By 2050, the GHG emissions from plastic could reach over 56 gigatons—10-13 percent of the entire remaining carbon budget.   Our IPs are also among the most affected sectors by the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis. The CCC emphasized that purchasing their products contribute to strengthening their resilience to future shocks, and preserve their cultural wealth and indigenous knowledge, systems, and practices that we Filipinos can be proud of.   This holiday season, let us maximize this opportunity to bring pride and joy to our IP brothers and sisters as we ensure that our country’s path to sustainable development is inclusive and equitable.
December 23, 2020 Wednesday
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CCC welcomes WFP’s Philippine Climate and Food Security Analysis Initiative
WFP Philippines: Launch of Climate and Food Security Analysis – 2020. Access the factsheet through this link: https://www.wfp.org/publications/wfp-philippines-launch-climate-and-food-security-analysis-2020 MANILA, 22 December 2020 —The Climate Change Commission (CCC) joined various government agencies, experts from different industries, advocates for climate resilience, and members of the academe to launch, “Climate Change and Food Security Analysis,” a research initiative created by the World Food Programme (WFP) to determine the impacts of climate change to food security, nutrition and livelihood in the Philippines and to identify the appropriate solutions.   The virtual event featured Mr. Mats Persson, OIC and Deputy Country Director, World Food Programme; Mr. Stephen Weise, Managing Director, Alliance of Biodiversity and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT); the Office of Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, head of the Zero Hunger Task Force in the Office of the President; Director Alicia Ilagan, Department of Agriculture; Director Restituto Macuto, Sustainable Livelihood Program and National Program Manager of EPAHP NPMO, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); Dr. Azucena Dayanghirang, Executive Director, National Nutrition Council; and Mr. Jerome Ilagan, Chief of Policy Research and Development Division, Climate Change Commission (CCC).   The virtual event was held to formally launch the Climate Change and Food Security Analysis, including the introduction of its objectives, time, and expected outputs. Likewise, the event aimed to generate interest in the study by making the argument for climate change and its impact on food security in vulnerable communities.   The report reveals that aside from conflict, climate change is one of the main drivers of global hunger. Climate change impacts are also undermining agricultural production. Particularly vulnerable are smallholder farmers living in the earth’s more fragile environments. More than 80% of the world’s most food-insecure people are being hit by extreme weather such as drought and flooding, as well as by other stresses such as pest infestation and land degradation. Changes in climate are affecting the production of staple crops—wheat, rice and maize—in both tropical and temperate regions. This situation is set to worsen as temperature increases and becomes more extreme, and rainfall becomes more unpredictable.   In his opening statement, Mr. Persson said, “Climate variability and extreme weather events are among the key drivers behind the recent increase in global hunger and one of the leading causes of severe food crisis. To fill in the undeniable gap between climate change and food insecurity, WFP forged a partnership with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture and initiated a research study of the Philippines Climate and Food Security Analysis.”   Dr. Weise said, “It is evident that the climate is impacting food security in ways and in intensity we have not experienced before. Just this year, for example, the Philippines had to bear the brunt of multiple typhoons that took lives, and caused damage and losses worth billions of pesos in the agriculture sector. If anything, this is a signal for organizations like ours to work closely together along with national authorities and institutions to build greater resilience in the food systems of the Philippines.”   In 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 101 which created the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger (IATFZH). This aims to put an end to the hunger problem in the country by 2030. The WFP has extended its support of this Task Force and its initiatives to help the country achieve its goals.   Mr. Ilagan commended the Climate and Food Security Analysis as it is consistent with the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. On the promise of food security, he expects that the results of the analysis will lead to a complementary and anticipatory adaptation mechanism that is founded on scientific drivers presented in partnership with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and local experts.   He added that, “The National Panel of Technical Experts from the Climate Change Commission can also share their views on how to do multi-scenario, multi-hazard impact projections; inasmuch as the productivity of the sector lies not only on the natural hazards but the complementary implications of other growth drivers such as land use, land industry optimization and incentives, green jobs creation, and the building of people's movements so that they could start investing consistently with the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act.”   Although the launch of the Philippines Climate and Food Security Analysis was delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis, attendees of the virtual event have stated that this should not impact the goal of the study. Likewise, they hope that the pandemic will provide additional aspects for critical analysis on food security and climate change.   This virtual event was organized by WFP in partnership with the CIAT, with the participation of the Zero Hunger Task Force.
December 22, 2020 Tuesday
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Celebrities, Advocates Champion Climate Action
Photo: Atom Araullo, former CCC Secretary Lucille Sering, Angel Locsin, Alcala, Cagayan Mayor Tin Antonio, and Kim Atienza during the livestream of Now What? Climate Action #NowPH. MANILA, 22 December 2020 — At the “Now What? Climate Action #NowPH” dialogue, moderated by award-winning Journalist Atom Araullo and former Climate Change Commission (CCC) Secretary Lucille Sering, Filipino celebrities and climate change advocates gathered to raise awareness on climate change and pushed for meaningful actions to address the worsening effects of the climate crisis.   The dialogue featured celebrity climate advocates, such as Angel Locsin, Kim Atienza, Antoinette Taus, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Ria Atayde, and Jun Sabayton, as well as Climate Change Commissioner Rachel Herrera, Mayor Tin Antonio of Alcala, Cagayan, Dr. Selva Ramachandran of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Typhoon Ulysses survivor Danie Nacena joining the discussion.   "Meron tayong nakikitang trend. Kahit na hindi sya nakikita on an event-to-event basis, talagang merong trend na it's getting more extreme, it's getting more frequent, and it's getting more devastating itong mga extreme weather events na ito," said Araullo, who, for the past years, has made documentaries that shed light on critical environmental and climate change issues.   Former Secretary Sering shared how the Climate Change Act, which created the Commission, was passed in response to the severe flooding caused by Ondoy in 2009.   “Ang nangyari during my time, nag-start kami gawin ang batas at na-create ang Climate Change Commission dahil sa Bagyong Ondoy. Na-create ‘yong batas in a matter of two months dahil tumama ang Ondoy sa Metro Manila at ang mga politicians, congressmen, at senador, lahat sila na-experience kung gaano kahirap ang Ondoy,” said Sering.   “Doon kasi sa lugar ng Cagayan lalo na po sa lugar ni Mayor Tin Antonio sa Alcala, dahil na rin sa pag-create ng Climate Change Commission at saka ‘yong DRR Act, gumawa po kami ng intensive geo-hazard mapping. We also came up with a project that actually involve a lot of experts na prinoject ng mangyayari ‘yong nangyayari sa kanila ngayon,” added Sering.   The online dialogue discussed how Filipinos have increasingly become vulnerable to climate change in this pandemic. The panelists also shared their personal climate stories, as well as actions to bring relief and support the resilience of many vulnerable Filipinos.   "Ipinaliwanag po sa amin na ang pagbaha sa Cagayan ay may maraming factors. Una, ang Alcala ay bottleneck. Mula sa 400-meter wide na channel ng Cagayan River, kumikipot ito ng 150 meters sa aming bayan. Isa pang dahilan ay ‘yung pagputol ng mga punong-kahoy, hindi lang dahil sa illegal logging, kundi dahil rin sa agrikultura, partikular ‘yung yellow corn farming na ginagamitan ng herbicide or spray. Pinapatay po nun lahat ng punong-kahoy. It weakens the soil kaya kapag nandyan na ‘yung baha, humahalo po ‘yung sediment sa tubig-baha at pumupunta sa mga streams, sa mga rivers. Nakita po ‘yun mismo ng mga tao nitong nagdaang pagbaha sa Alcala nitong Nobyembre dahil yung tubig baha, nung nawala na, ang naiwan po ay napakataas na putik,” said Mayor Tinio.   "The way forward is clear. For Alcala, we rely on our scientists for a study to be done and we have a plan in place. Climate change is not just disaster risk reduction, it’s really mitigation and adaptation. We have the support of our constituents because this a matter of survival already," added Mayor Antonio whose town in Alcala was among the areas submerged in floodwaters when Typhoon Ulysses hit the country in mid-November.   “Hindi madali na mabaha ng ilang beses, hindi madali na hindi namin alam kung kailan ang susunod na mararanasan namin ulit ang bagyo. Pero sana hindi lang kami ang tutugon sa ganitong klaseng problema. Kasi kung kami lang dito sa Marikina, sinusubukan namin e, pero kung yung mga ibang lugar ay patuloy pa rin sa ways na makakasira sa kalikasan, walang mangyayari," said Danie Naceno.   Kuya Kim meanwhile shared how he, as a weather anchor, reported on storms and typhoons becoming more extreme throughout the years.   "Napakalugi nating mga Pilipino, kasi we contribute so little to the warming of the environment and to worsening of the climate, and yet, we are at the receiving end. And I experienced it personally as a weather man. Noong 2014, ang mga bagyo noon ay hindi ganito kalakas, at nakita ko through the years na palakas nang palakas ang mga bagyo at pa-extreme nang pa-extreme. Dati hanggang signal number 3 lang tayo, ngayon meron nang super typhoon na. Dati rati, ang bagyo pagdating ng December mahina na ‘yan, pero ngayon baliktad. Nakita ko through the years na ang mga report ko ay pabigat na nang pabigat," said Atienza, as he recalled his 15 years of service as a resident weather anchor of ABS-CBN.   Angel Locsin also shared her relief efforts and encounters with typhoon-displaced communities, particularly of one resident whom she met in several instances due to being recurrently displaced and affected by these extreme weather events.   “Mayroon kaming organization ng mga actors, at ang tawag po dito ay “Aktor.” We recently held a relief mission sa Marikina, at may isang rare moment doon na may nakausap akong isang evacuee na parang magkababata kami kung makipag-usap siya sa akin. Ayun pala, nagkita na kami ten years ago nung bagyong Ondoy sa Rizal, then bagyo sa Quezon City, at ngayon sa Marikina nung Ulysses. Mapapaisip ka talaga na paulit-ulit ‘yung nangyayari. Relief, rescue, and evacuation protocol is a thing na kailangan talaga nila if they need help, pero kung may magagawa naman tayo na long-term solution para maiwasang mangyari ito, bakit hindi natin gawin?" said Locsin.   "I think kailangan natin ng isang unified, concrete and scientific approach na magiging fully implemented to prevent unnecessary loss of lives and damage to properties. Kaya I'm here because gusto ko ring matutunan kung ano ba talaga yung mga tamang paraan, hakbang and I think panahon na para pag-usapan natin at bigyan natin ng tamang atensyon ang climate change katulad ng mga ibang issues na pinag-uusapan natin ngayon," added Locsin.   During the second panel discussion, Commissioner Herrera shared the existing policies and initiatives of the government to amplify climate action, including the efforts to finalize and submit the Philippine Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).   "Noong 2017 na naging parte ang Pilipinas ng Paris Agreement, tuloy-tuloy ang pag-uusap among stakeholders sa gobyerno, sa private sector, kasama ang mga local governments, ang academe para bumuo ng NDC o commitment ng bansa natin para mag-decarbonize. Ito ang goal natin bilang isang bansa, hindi lang ng gobyerno, kundi tinatawag na whole-of-nation approach, para makita natin kung saan tayo pwedeng mag-avoid ng tuloy-tuloy na pagtaas ng ating carbon emissions," said Herrera.   Taus, founder of the Communities Organized for Resource Allocation (CORA), and National Goodwill Ambassador for the Philippines by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) shared three major actions needed to drive climate action.   “Kapag sinabing what can we truly do right now, we really need three major actions. So nag-uumpisa po ‘yan sa systemic change, policy change, and of course we need to declare climate emergency. Declaring climate emergency across the world, which is what our youth is asking for, is so vital kasi once mag-declare ng climate emergency lahat ng actions na kasunod nito ay dikit-dikit at tuloy-tuloy na po ‘yan,” said Taus.   “Kapag pinag-usapan natin ang coal plant hindi lang environment ang naapektuhan niyan kundi pati ang mga community themselves. So speak out and say that we do not want another coal plant. Kailangan na nating itigil ang business-as-usual kasi hindi na natin pwedeng ipagkaila na nagbabago na ang mundo, nagbabago ang mga laws internationally, nagbabago na rin po ang mga policies totally,” added Taus.   On the last panel, celebrity advocates highlighted the importance of using their own platforms to stir interest and conversation on most critical issues like climate change and spark individual and collective contributions from your market audience and followers.   "Given the platform that we have, and since we have people who are here to listen to us, why not use it for educating and enlightening others than just using it for entertainment? We are influencers no matter how small that circle is. Basta pag-usapan natin 'yong mga kailangang pag-usapan. Again, kapag napag-uusapan, these issues come to light, and when things come to light nahahanapan ng solusyon," said Atayde.   “If you can do it amongst your friends, and those who know you, and when they start asking questions about it, give answers and spread stories with good factual research background. Let's spread the factual information na dapat marinig ng mga tao. It doesn't have to be big, and doesn't have to be a government level, it doesn't have to be your whole barangay, it could be just you and your friends, gathering together talking about it and discussing the issue at hand or the concern that needs to be known in these times. Then sila, they'll do it in their own time and baka they will spread the word also. It's also a good thing that we will do our part as a community member and as a citizen of this country," said Curtis-Smith, a Sustainable Development Goals’ advocate and World Vision Ambassador.   "Sa simula ay kakaunti pa lang ‘yung nagbibigay talaga ng boses kasi syempre pag ganito yung topic, medyo nakakakaba rin at saka laging sinasabi na 'hindi ka mabibigyan ng project, ng ibang mga produkto, kasi may mga produkto na minsan ini-endorse mo ay nakakasira pala sa kalikasan. So parang ang hirap din bilang aktor, bilang isang nag-a-advocate kung paano mo iba-balance iyon," said Jun Sabayton, who is part of ‘Coal-Free Philippines’, an environmental campaign dedicated to raise awareness on the detrimental continued use of coal to generate electricity and advocates for the use of renewable energy in the country.   "While we are facing a pandemic, last month alone, we experienced the strongest typhoon recorded in the world this year—that is Typhoon Rolly, leaving thousands of Filipinos homeless. The damage brought about by typhoon Rolly added by destruction caused by Typhoon Ulysses was over 20 billion peso worth of damage - 12.9 billion for infrastracture and 7.3 billion in the agriculture sector. These figures continues to soar as a result of assessment of both public and private sectors that are still coming in," said Dr. Selva Ramachandran.   "As we recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we now have the opportunity to push the hard reset button on our relationship with the environment, root cause of this pandemic, by pursuing a green recovery and aligning with our development plans and the NDC. We can do so in a way that does not only protect the environment, but on which also brings other concrete benefits, including the creation of new green jobs and reduction of inequalities, while fostering more resilient communities,” added  Dr. Ramachandran.   The “Now What? Climate Action #NowPH” was made in collaboration with FYT, YesPinoy Foundation, and MediSure Plus as part of #NowPH (Not On Our Watch Philippines) campaign, a youth-led climate movement, which aims to inspire climate action and promote sustainable solutions in the communities to help save the planet and attain climate justice for all.   Watch the replay of the online discussion through this link: https://web.facebook.com/watchparty/389657182094917
December 22, 2020 Tuesday
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CCC, USAID Feature City LGUs’ Initiatives on Climate Adaptation and Mitigation
MANILA, 21 December 2020 — Local governments of partner cities under the Cities Development Initiative (CDI) showcased exemplary climate change adaptation and mitigation (CCAM) practices at the Cities’ Initiatives for CCAM webinar, held during the 13th Annual Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week.   The webinar, which was co-organized by the CCC and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Project, focused on recognizing the replicable CCAM initiatives of cities to encourage more local government units to pursue efforts geared towards building and increasing climate resilience within communities. The event was streamed live via the Facebook page of the Climate Change Commission (CCC).   “The participation of local governments and their involvement and leadership are very important in adaptation and mitigation. This has been emphasized because while national policy covers the general framework of our country, including those that are passed by Congress or issued by the Executive Branch of the government, it is important that our local communities, including the CSOs and private organizations, are involved in this endeavor,” said Congressman Edgardo Chatto, Representative of 1st District of Bohol and Chair of the House Committee on Climate Change in his message.   “The local governments are the frontliners in climate action. We call on our local leaders to recognize the prevailing climate emergency and address the risks in their communities. We enjoin you to revisit and enhance your strategies and plans for reducing disaster risk and adapting to climate change informed by the latest science and risk assessment,” said CCC Secretary Emmanuel M. de Guzman in his message.   Four partner cities, which include General Santos City, Legazpi City, Tagbilaran City, and Zamboanga City, presented their ongoing efforts and plans for climate change adaptation and mitigation, such as low-emission development strategies and mainstreaming disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in development planning. These LGUs also delivered a statement of their commitment to continue their efforts on climate change adaptation and mitigation, as part of their strategies to adapt to a sustainable future.   General Santos City’s adaptation and mitigation plans include the passing of a City Land Use Plan (CLUP), which includes climate and disaster risk and hazard mapping of areas, identifying the major greenhouse gas producers in the city for inventory to make way for future interventions; and replacement of old mercury lights with the more environment-friendly LED lights.   “In line with the celebration of the Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week, let it be known that the local government unit of General Santos City would like to profess our commitment towards ‘Adapting for a Sustainable Future’ by ensuring that not only do we engage in more and impactful climate change adaptation and mitigation projects and initiatives, but to also commit to engaging our youth, the private sector, and more partners in our efforts versus global warming,” said General Santos City Mayor Ronnel C. Rivera.   Legazpi City shared that they continuously work to implement CCAM actions, such as entity- and community-level greenhouse gas inventory to formulate policies and programs on emission reduction and sequestration; greenhouse gas management planning; Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP) for 2019-2028, which helps them develop local policies, projects, programs, and activities geared towards addressing climate change; Alay Lakad Tanim Kahoy Para Sa Puso, dubbed as the Legazpi City Arbor Day, which is an annual activity every February 14 to promote health through walking and love for the environment by planting trees; random emission testing of public utility and private vehicles; and waste reduction initiatives through the establishment of disposal facilities, sustainable composting facilities, clean energy for agriculture support facilities, and septage treatment facilities.   “Local governments have a critical role to play in climate change adaptation and mitigation. This is a challenging feat, but we can neither afford to have second thoughts nor have a pit stop. The right time to start is now, and let us continue our little steps. The small ripples of change that we do in our areas of responsibility should create bigger waves of transformation. Together, we can achieve what we are all dreaming for,” said Legazpi City Mayor Noel E. Rosal.   Tagbilaran City is a coastal city prone to hydrometeorological hazards, such as flooding, storm surge, typhoons, and rain-induced landslides. Some of the CCAM initiatives they shared are the formulation of their LCCAP, conduct of greenhouse gas inventory and management plan, installation of solar panels, mangrove planting, regular coastal cleanup, use of permeable materials in open spaces, rainwater harvesting, and ban on single-use plastics and polystyrene.   “As the mayor of Tagbilaran City, I respond to the global call to action to combat climate change and commit to showing leadership in the city by advocating for climate action consistent with science. I will work to increase awareness of the threat that climate change poses to the health and well-being of communities, especially to children,” said Tagbilaran City Mayor John Geesnell L. Yap II.   Zamboanga City reduces its environmental impact and mitigate climate change through the following initiatives: GHG emission reduction strategies; energy conservation program; rehabilitation of streetlights project with non-hazardous and eco-friendly LED bulbs; waste-to-value as alternative technologies for residual waste; establishment of the transfer station and material recovery facilities; waterfront and heritage walk development; climate-resilient school buildings; and watershed/mangrove rehabilitation and reforestation projects.   “The Environment Code of the City of Zamboanga highlights the determination of the city LGU to pursue sustainable development and to protect the right of the people to a balanced ecology; and ensure the sustainable use of natural resources, by advancing development while preserving the quality of the environment free from any disturbance, such as but not limited to the adverse impacts of climate change,” said Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle G. Climaco.   The USAID’s SURGE Project works with CDI cities to strengthen their climate change mitigation through GHG reduction. Since 2019, the project has been supporting the cities of Tagbilaran and Zamboanga in formulating their GHG Management Plan, and the cities of General Santos and Legazpi in developing their GHG Inventory Reports. These cities were also assisted in accounting the GHG reduction potentials for their projects and programs.   Watch the replay of this event via:  https://www.facebook.com/CCCPhl/videos/369882760955399 
December 21, 2020 Monday
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Experts discuss adaptation interventions on infra, agri, and population in developing PSF proposals
MANILA, 21 December 2020 — To further provide capacity building on accessing the People’s Survival Fund (PSF), the Climate Change Commission conducted a virtual PSF Clinic on 18 December 2020 for planning and investment officers from 61 local governments across the country.   Speakers during the PSF Clinic included Dr. Antonio L. Fernandez, Senior Technical Expert of CCC, Dr. Felino P. Lansigan, Professor Emeritus of Statistics and Environmental Science at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños and member of the National Panel of Technical Experts (NPTE), and Ms. Jean Paula Regulano, Development Management Officer of the CCC-PSF Unit, to share knowledge on how to develop adaptation projects for funding under the PSF.   Dr. Fernandez shared climate change impacts and adaptation interventions related to infrastructure, based on anticipatory planning for building new structures, or maintaining those existing, so that they are resilient to climate impacts.   “As you go through the process of trying to understand what kind of proposals you want to submit, you have to look at it from the strategy, the preparedness of your system alone, the commitment of your local government officials, [and if] people are also welcoming of the idea,” said Dr. Fernandez.   Dr. Lansigan discussed innovative adaptation measures in climate risk management in agriculture, which include Adaptive Planting Calendar, and Weather Index-Based Crop Insurance (WIBI).   “The PSF calls for the implementation of innovative measures which can be explored in collaboration with other stakeholders in the community, province, or region. This also involves collaboration among the LGUs, the academe, particularly state universities and colleges across your area, national government agencies, and non-government organizations operating in your community,” said Dr. Lansigan.   Ms. Regulano tackled population dynamics as multipliers of climate vulnerability,  which meant that local demography must be understood well.   “When you revisit your plans, or you intend to enhance and implement it, we need to also consider the needs of our population in consideration of our perceived impacts of climate change. We can start by getting away with some of the business-as-usual tricks such as perspectives in vulnerability that are superficial, overly general, and deterministic; the ‘impact-first’ approach that you have to wait for something to happen before you act on it; and the static perspective in the inputs of vulnerability. Your factors of vulnerability are not constant, it’s consistently evolving, same as how climate change, temperature, rainfall, or stimulus is evolving more rapidly,” said Regulano.   The PSF Clinic aims to expand the coverage and reach to localities that are unable to access capacity building workshops and/or seminars on PSF due to the current pandemic. It also addresses misconceptions, provides clarifications, and bridge gaps in the  data or information needed to understand climate and disaster risks and vulnerabilities; programs, projects, and activities that can be proposed for PSF funding; reference documents that maybe submitted to justify the proposed climate change adaptation intervention; and project proposal development.   “We hope that this undertaking will foster a fruitful partnership with your localities and organizations, and establish channels of support and communication. As the world faces the catastrophic impacts of climate change alongside COVID-19, it is high time that we put forth timely climate actions on the ground, enabling us to recuperate and rebuild with a resilient future in mind,” said Assistant Secretary Romell Antonio O. Cuenca, CCC Deputy Executive Director and Head of the PSF Unit.
December 21, 2020 Monday
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Adopt nature-based solutions to reduce flood risks – Legarda
MANILA, 19 December 2020 — Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda today called on government agencies and LGUs to effectively implement environment, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and disaster risk reduction measures to ensure safer and more resilient communities to floods.   Legarda made the call during her message at the Flood Resilience Summit organized by the University of the Philippines Visayas and the Iloilo city and provincial governments. The said forum aims to bring leaders, experts, and decision-makers to discuss programs and policies that would reduce the risks of flooding in Iloilo.   “The increasing severity of typhoons and resulting floods—such as the succession of typhoons Pepito, Quinta, super typhoon Rolly, tropical storm Siony, Tonyo, and typhoon Ulysses—are stark reminder that extreme weather, high-impact events threaten to affect millions of our people, compounding challenges to health and security and economic stability with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Legarda emphasized.   As the author of landmark laws on climate adaptation and disaster resilience, including the Climate Change Act and the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, Legarda said that the national government and LGUs must focus on providing tools for locally-led adaptation.   “We must expand financial resources available to local governments, community-based organizations, and other local actors, to help create multi-stakeholder support with greater influence on evidence-based decision-making. It is at the local level where we can best identify, prioritize, implement, and monitor climate adaptation solutions,” said Legarda.   “Many of our LGUs have already started investing in flood control infrastructure, such as river embankments, pumping stations, floodwalls, drainage systems, storm drains, canals, and flood retention areas. However, this must be done in tandem with non-structural flood mitigation measures,” Legarda added.   Legarda noted that over the past decades, areas around waterways have become densely populated, affecting water flow. The social challenges that aggravate climate and disaster risks include urban congestion, where many people who live in informal settlements are particularly vulnerable to flooding. Despite warnings, communities continue to live in inadequate housing on or near waterways.   This was further compounded by the problem of solid waste management where uncollected trash, consisting mostly of single-use plastics, clog water flow and create problems in drainage. Poor land-use planning has aggravated climate impacts.   “We must widely adopt nature-based solutions to reduce flood risks, such as restoring wetlands for water storage and soil moisture; reconnecting rivers to floodplains; planting mangroves to protect from coastal flooding; and increasing green urban spaces,” Legarda reiterated.   UP Visayas Chancellor Clement Camposano stressed that it is high time for the province to increase its level of preparedness to floods which bring massive destruction to their communities.   "We have flood incidents in the past, sinking our beloved province that is prone to vulnerabilities and always in constant danger. Yet for many years, many of us seem to carry on as if the danger is not real. I think it's about time that we should be reminded that it's no more a question of whether flooding leads to disaster or if will it happen again. We need to be ready if we are capable of reducing the danger and risks in life and property of the province." said Camposano.   Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas emphasized the role of collaboration and solidarity in addressing the growing problem of flooding.   "Given our geographic location, we are very susceptible to flooding. This risk is made even worse by possible extreme weather events brought about by climate change. Both Iloilo City and the province are regularly affected by typhoons and heavy rains thus flooding is a problem that we really need to address together,” said Mayor Jerry Treñas of Iloilo City.   Iloilo Province Governor Arthur Defensor, Jr. shared insights on how commitment of stakeholders are vital for convergence of policy and programs.   “In 2010, we championed the Forest Resources Bill of Haribon Foundation. With 10 years’ worth of research, we fought for that bill on sustainable forest management. It was eventually approved,” said Governor Defensor.   Dr. Wei Sen Li, Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Emergency Preparedness Capacity Building Center (APECEPCC) and Secretary-General of the Taiwan National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction (NDCR), enumerated in his presentation the vital elements to mitigate flooding in Iloilo.   "Knowledge, scenario, and risk and evaluation are the basic things we need in disaster risk reduction so we need to understand how to make science development and innovation in the decision-making process and applications. With UP Visayas, we work together to help Iloilo City. First is to have a scientific prediction. Then, install a lot of early warning sensors to keep real-time monitoring of the information that helps us revise our scientific prediction, and also to monitor the situation. If we can work these things together, I think we already have the elements to succeed in fighting against flood,” he said.   Towards the end of the program, a resolution implementing measures for flood risk reduction and resilience was signed by the local chief executives and heads of institutions and offices in Iloilo.   The said resolution provided recommendations for consideration of decision-makers, which includes:   Complete implementation of the Comprehensive Drainage Masterplan for Iloilo City that includes the full implementation of Stage 2 and Stage 3 of the Iloilo River Flood control project; Strengthening and sustaining the operation and maintenance of flood mitigation activities, facilities, structures, waterways, and drainage systems; Restoration and conservation of watersheds; A comprehensive study on the river systems and their effects on flooding, including the mapping of the connectivity between river systems, the floodways, spillways, and drainage system, and the integration of local knowledge with science; Institutionalization of Standard Operating Procedures in response to flooding occurrences; Comprehensive training and capacitation of local personnel to address flooding issues and occurrences; Strengthening community-based and managed flood prevention, preparedness, mitigation, and response; Develop programs, projects, and activities (PPAs) that directly address and reduce social. cultural, economic, environmental, physical vulnerabilities and drivers of flood risks; Mainstreaming DRR and CCA in all development plans, in line with the Rationalized Planning System JMC 2007-1 between the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), to include provisions that incorporate flood resilience in plans, programs, projects, and activities of the City and Province of Iloilo to reduce economic, sociocultural, environmental, physical, and institutional impacts of flooding on the lives and assets of llonggos; and Institutionalization through legislation of co-beneficial infrastructure, social, economic, and environment development plans and programs with the private sector that will enhance flood resilience in the City and the Province of Iloilo.   “Nature-based solutions, which are sustainable and cost-effective, offer great potential to reduce risks from multiple hazards and to yield jobs, improve livelihoods, and protect biodiversity,” Legarda said. 
December 19, 2020 Saturday
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Legarda: Urgent climate action needed as 2020 is set to become one of the warmest years on record
MANILA, 15 December 2020 — Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda called for increased global climate ambition as global warming advances rapidly this year, making 2020 one of the warmest years ever recorded.   According to the 2020 provisional State of the Global Climate report by the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the year 2020 is set to be one of the three warmest years on record with the average global temperature at about 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels, despite a cooling effect of the La Niña phenomenon. This decade (2011-2020) will be the warmest decade on record; the six warmest years on record have all been in the past six years (2015-2020) and the trend is set to continue due to the increasing heat-trapping greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere.   The report, which is based on temperature data from January to October this year, shows how high-impact events including extreme heat, wildfires, and floods affected millions of people, compounded threats to human health and security and economic stability posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.   Despite the COVID-19 lockdown, which reduced industrial activities and decreased air traffic, atmospheric concentrations of GHG continued to rise, committing the planet to further warming for many generations to come because of the long lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere, according to the report.   The WMO assessment is based on five global temperature datasets, all of which currently place 2020 as the 2nd warmest for the year to date, following 2016 and ahead of 2019. The difference between the warmest three years is small, however, and exact rankings for each data set could change once data for the entire year are available. The final 2020 report will be published in March 2021.   The Paris Agreement states that countries must act to prevent the global average temperature from rising more than 2°C and use whatever measures possible to limit this rise to 1.5°C. But with temperatures expected to continue rising, the WMO arrives at the estimation of a one-in-five chance of it temporarily exceeding 1.5°C by 2024. Such global warming will intensify extreme weather events such as floods, forest fires and droughts.   In 2020, several regions of the world were grappling with wildfires of record sizes. All these fires propelled clouds of smoke to high altitudes that circled the Earth while adding even more carbon dioxide to the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.   With 96 cyclones and storms, statistics for the year 2020 are well above the historical average. Floods in different parts of the world, including the Philippines, displaced large numbers of people and undermined food security for millions. More than 50 million people have suffered a double impact this year: climate disasters and pandemics. 10 million people turned into “climate refugees”, who had to leave their homes due to these extreme weather events.   “This assessment attests that the entire planet is under a climate emergency, and that failure to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and to build the adaptive capacities of communities to climate change at the same time would lead to unprecedented loss to human society, environment, and the global economy,” Legarda said.   Although the pandemic has been the biggest concern to many people in 2020, for millions in climate-vulnerable places, Legarda stressed that the climate emergency remains one of the biggest threats to human survival, and only greater ambition and urgent action in reducing the GHG emissions could help the world meet the necessary scale and pace to evade the catastrophic effects of our changing climate.   “Developed countries, historically responsible for the climate crisis, should step up their climate action to achieve the 1.5°C long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. This is to spare vulnerable countries like us from the continuous cycle of loss and damage,” Legarda concluded.
December 15, 2020 Tuesday
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ASEAN Calls for Nature-Based Solutions Against the Impacts of Climate Change
MANILA, 15 December 2020 — Environmental experts, advocates for climate change resilience, and members of the academe and civil society gathered virtually today to discuss the importance of nature-based solutions in building better climate change resilience for countries in the ASEAN region and beyond at the “Biodiversity and Building Resilience to Impacts of Climate Change in ASEAN” webinar.   The virtual event, moderated by Mr. Jerome Ilagan, Chief of the Policy Research and Development, Climate Change Commission of the Philippines (CCC), featured biodiversity experts Mr. Tristan Tyrrell, Programme Officer of SwedBio; Dr. Isabelle de Lovinfosse, Head of Southeast Asia COP26 Strategy, British High Commission; and Mr. Krissusandi Gunui’, Executive Director of Institut Dayakologi.   In his opening statement, Mr. Ilagan said, “The manifestations of climate change impacts are now being felt in all countries in the ASEAN region. In a region where biodiversity is recognized as one of the richest in the world, it is imperative that ASEAN take immediate and concerted action to address the impacts of climate change.”   This would set the tone for the webinar as other speakers discussed the importance of taking immediate action towards building resilience in the region and the rest of the world.    “There is no denying that climate change and its severe impacts on the environment and our lives and well-being are already here. We can no longer keep this to our back burner as this issue cuts across the present challenges that hound us today. The far-reaching consequences of climate change disrupt our daily lives and stunt our development. ASEAN countries, especially in the past few months, have experienced stronger and more disruptive typhoons that came one after the other, leaving people dead and destroying millions worth of properties. Indeed, this climate crisis is one of the main culprits that drive the loss of nature. But the main paradox here is that biodiversity and its ecosystem services also underpin our principal solutions and efforts to tackle climate change and its impacts. Without healthy biodiversity, our fight against climate change should be an impossible feat,” Executive Director Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim of the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity (ACB) said in her opening remarks.   Assistant Secretary Ricardo Calderon of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) observed that, “We experienced five typhoons that hit the country and we could see that despite the well-managed protected areas with the average forest cover of 75%, there’s still flooding, there’s still swelling of the rivers. It simply means that our natural ecosystems cannot anymore absorb this kind of extreme rainfall-type events. And the impact, as far as the community is concerned, to the natural resources including the wildlife is very severe and very difficult to recover.”   His statement is just one of the few that followed as government officials and environmental experts made sense of the devastation linked to climate change.   Dr. Isabelle de Lovinfosse discussed the United Kingdom’s planned key campaigns for COP26. She discussed the country’s plans on closing the ambition gap to address the Paris Agreement’s three pillars, namely: (1) to increase the level of ambition by governments and non-government actors; (2) to mobilize international climate finance from donor countries and the private sector to support other countries; and (3) to increase efforts that are devoted to domestic and international acceleration in support of ASEAN economies and communities.     “Climate and biodiversity are forever closely interdependent. Climate change is already impacting biodiversity losses and ecosystem damage. And the same human activities are the drivers of both issues, like unsustainable land use, deforestation, intensive agriculture, and natural resource destruction. Nature-based solutions are not the only solutions to climate change problems, but they have a large role to play,” said Dr. Lovinfosse.   Countries in the ASEAN region continue to bear the impacts of climate change and land degradation wreaks havoc on biodiversity, thus resilience is needed more than ever. The COVID-19 crisis has brought to light shortcomings in several areas, from insufficient disaster risk reduction in several countries to the inequities in the global economy. However, as shared by Dr. Nagulendran Kangyatkarasu, the Deputy Secretary-General of Malaysia’s Ministry of Environment and Water, they are choosing to use this time as an opportunity to come up with more robust solutions to address the impacts of climate change in relation to biodiversity.   Following the presentations, invited reactors shared their thoughts and opinions on the topic. The overarching theme was a call for cooperation in the international community. They discussed the need for the active participation of the public and private sectors in resilience building.   Biodiversity and the natural environment possess functions that mitigate the manifestations of climate change impacts. In adopting and implementing nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based adaptation, countries in the ASEAN region and around the world are one step closer to improving risk mitigation and conservation efforts.    This webinar was organized by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, in collaboration with the Climate Change Commission, with support from SwedBio at the Stockholm Resilience Centre.
December 15, 2020 Tuesday
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Legarda urges Filipino youth to be leaders in climate action
MANILA, 14 December 2020 — Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda today called on the youth to use their power to spark movement and raise awareness on environmental justice, sustainability, and climate action.   Legarda made the call during her virtual speech titled "On Climate Action and Accountability: The Journey Towards Environmental Justice" at the EcoSummit 2020: The First National Youth Environmental Forum organized by the official student government of Ateneo de Davao University.   “Our country is no stranger to the impacts of climate change. But averting loss and damage and coping in the aftermath of these extreme weather events, which have become more intense and damaging in the last decade, are an additional burden against limited resources of a developing, fast growing nation. Climate-related disasters are undoing years of development gains,” Legarda stressed.   The Philippines was recently hit by typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses in the past months, which massively destroyed infrastructure and agricultural lands and submerged the communities in floodwater. It ranked fourth among countries most affected by climate change from 1999 to 2018 in the 2020 Global Climate Risk Index by the Germanwatch. An annual average of 0.5% of GDP has been lost due to climate change impacts.   Coupled with the challenges of COVID-19, Legarda said that the country needed to push for a pandemic recovery that also strives for climate resilience in order to protect vulnerable communities.   “As we have declared in the Global Commission on Adaptation, the matter of accelerating adaptation measures has also never been more important. Climate shocks are happening now, intersecting with and exacerbating impacts of COVID-19. Building resilience to climate impacts will be critical to response and recovery efforts. We have been on the receiving end of extreme weather events at the expense of our fellow Filipinos’ lives, livelihoods, and resources,” added Legarda.   Legarda also co-authored House Resolution No. 1377 declaring a climate and environmental emergency to ensure “enhanced and coherent climate actions in the executive and legislative agenda of the government,” which was sponsored by the House Committee on Climate Change and unanimously approved by the House of Representatives on November 25, 2020.   “In the name of climate justice, we will continue calling for greater leadership and action from the developed countries that have caused this climate crisis. Climate justice is to demand for what is right and just for the Filipinos. It is to improve our capacity to adapt and mitigate. It is to commit to upholding the right of every Filipino to a better life,” Legarda said.   “But within our country, we also need to exhibit leadership and action. We need to build on our progress so far and identify gaps within our systems in order to spur and normalize climate action on the ground and down to the last mile,” Legarda added.   Citing the 2017 Philippine Climate Change Assessment Report of the Climate Change Commission and PAGASA projections, Legarda said that regions in the Philippines, including Mindanao, are experiencing seasonal aridity and recurrent droughts and manifest conditions and effects of desertification processes, and will continue to experience large decreases in rainfall and longer drier periods which will affect the amount of water in watersheds and dams, thereby limiting agricultural and energy production.   The observed temperature in the country is projected to increase by as much as 0.9°C to 2.3°C by 2050, entailing drastic changes in weather patterns, increase in frequency, intensity and duration of floods, and increase in frequency and intensity of droughts, according to PAGASA,   Sea level rise in the country is projected to be at 60 centimeters or three times the global average of 19 centimeters, with 60 percent of local government units at risk to storm surges, flashfloods, and saltwater intrusion.   “These and many more are a stark reminder that climate change is a clear and present threat to the lives of all Filipinos, particularly our most vulnerable sectors of our society. I am talking about our local communities, the lumad, farmers, fisherfolks, persons with disabilities, women, children, and the elderly,” Legarda emphasized.   Legarda underscored the need for participation of all sectors, especially the youth, in addressing the climate emergency. Legarda then challenged the youth to raise awareness, inspire people, and find solutions to the emerging challenges of the world today.   “Our youth will not just simply inherit this world. You are part of this process of building our nation and our planet. You have the passion, skills, creativity, and energy to effect positive change. You are not just the leaders of tomorrow. You are already the leaders of today,” Legarda concluded. 
December 14, 2020 Monday
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CCC, UNDP Spearhead Development of Climate-Smart Buildings Standards
MANILA, 14 December 2020 — Representatives from the building industry gathered for a two-day online conference on the development of country standards on climate-smart buildings (CSB) as part of the 13th Annual Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week. The event, organized by the Climate Change Commission (CCC) together with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), was streamed on Facebook live.   As the country continues to face the adverse impacts of climate change such as extreme weather events, the CCC said that design standards for buildings must incorporate elements that make CSBs the first line of defense against natural climate-related disasters. The building sector also accounts for nearly 40 percent of the global energy-related carbon emissions, making it a critical player in the country’s low carbon transition efforts. Aiming for reduced emissions from buildings can be a significant component of climate mitigation strategies especially in cities.   Thus, the forum participants discussed two major topics: (i) Designing for the Environment: Beyond Efficiencies and (ii) Designing with Technology: Tools and Techniques for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.   The first day of the webinar focused on (i) Regenerative Built-Environment Systems Thinking, including a discussion on CSB features for disaster preparedness, (ii) Strategies on Food Generation, and (iii) Strategies on Water Security; while the second day featured sessions on (i) Net-Zero towards Net Positive, (ii) Sustainability-Measuring-Technologies: Role of Information Technology for Building’s Performance, and (iii) Indoor Environment, Air Quality, and Hands-free Technology.   These form part of ongoing efforts to strengthen partnerships and institutional arrangements and intensify advocacy and capacity building to promote inclusive, convergent, and sustainable implementation and compliance with CSB standards.   The event gathered representatives from national government agencies, local government units, academic institutions, architecture and engineering organizations, and civil society groups.   Through the forum, the CCC hopes to sustain and strengthen cooperation from the building sector in greening the economy and building resilience of the communities to climate impacts.   “As game changers and agents of change, you can certainly make a difference in transforming the Philippine society into low carbon. Your expertise and green designs are key to innovating and climate-proofing the country’s buildings and infrastructure,” said CCC Secretary Emmanuel M. de Guzman in his inspirational message.   This Development of Philippine Standards for Climate-Smart Buildings was co-organized by the CCC and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with Green Architecture Advocacy Philippines (GreenAP), under its 17th Green Forum – the Philippines’ longest-running Green Architecture event, and with the support from the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) and Green Restorative Actions and Sustainable Solutions (GRASS).   Watch the replay via: Day 1: https://www.facebook.com/uappdcwebinars20202021/videos/389119785568972 Day 2: https://www.facebook.com/uappdcwebinars20202021/videos/421001405764409
December 14, 2020 Monday
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CCC on 5th Paris Agreement Anniversary: Keep Climate Ambition Alive
MANILA, 12 December 2020 — The Climate Change Commission (CCC) called on global and national leaders to keep climate ambition and action alive in support of the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which was adopted by 195 countries, including the Philippines, five years ago.   It was formally adopted through Decision 1/CP.21 during the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris on December 12, 2015.   As a landmark agreement to combat climate change and accelerate and intensify actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future, the Paris Agreement brought developed and developing nations for the first time into a common cause—to undertake ambitious efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mostly in the form of carbon dioxide, and adapt to its effects.   The Paris Agreement primarily aims to keep the global temperature rise this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5ºC. It also aims to strengthen the countries’ resilience to climate change impacts, as well as increase mobilization of climate finance for adaptation and mitigation initiatives.   Developed countries are urged to take greater action to support these ambitious goals. Sufficient financial flows, technologies, and capacity development support should be made available to developing countries and the most vulnerable countries. The Agreement also puts in place transparency, compliance, and reporting mechanisms to track the progress of these goals.   While the CCC recognized that the Paris Agreement spurred many countries to increase pledges on climate finance and to commit net zero carbon emissions targets, the agency also said that countries need to present more ambitious climate plans, in line with COVID-19 recovery plans, to ensure that the 1.5ºC long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement is achieved.   The CCC noted that the Paris Agreement requires countries to communicate their greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and outline mitigate and adaptation options through their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which need to be submitted by the end of this year.   The climate body also mentioned that House Resolution No. 1377 calling for the declaration of a national climate emergency in the Philippines, the issuance of a moratorium on new coal power projects, and the adoption of a sustainable finance framework in the banking and financing industry are some of the ambitious announcements of the Philippines towards low-carbon and climate-resilient development.   The CCC hopes that the celebration of the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement puts the climate crisis at the heart of the global agenda and reminds all nations of the common goal and aspiration they committed to five years ago for a safer, healthier, and more sustainable planet for all.
December 12, 2020 Saturday
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Legarda: Honor the 1.5°C Climate Goal of the Paris Agreement
MANILA, 12 December 2020 — Five years since nations across the world adopted the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, House Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda today called on the developed countries to honor their commitments to the landmark climate treaty, which primarily aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and urges to mobilize climate finance, technologies, and capacity development for developing countries.   The Paris Agreement was formally adopted on December 12, 2015 at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It entered into force or became operational on November 4, 2016, thirty days after at least 55 countries accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions had ratified the Agreement. There are 189 countries that have ratified the Agreement.   As senator, Legarda sponsored the Senate Resolution to concur in President Duterte’s signing of the Paris Agreement on February 28, 2017. The Senate unanimously approved the resolution on March 14, 2017. The Paris Agreement took effect in the Philippines on April 22, Earth Day, a month after the instruments of accession were submitted to the UN.   “The Paris Agreement establishes the obligations of all nations to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. It is a vehicle towards achieving climate justice as it compels developed nations that have contributed the most to cause global warming and climate change to take deep and significant cuts to their greenhouse gas emissions,” Legarda said.   “Developed countries are also expected to mobilize climate finance and channel them through the Green Climate Fund, as well as provide support to developing and vulnerable nations through capacity building and technology transfer. The Agreement is governed by transparency and compliance mechanisms that will ensure continued collective progress towards meeting these ambitious global goals,” Legarda added.   In 2015, months ahead of the gathering of world leaders in COP21, Legarda delivered the Manila Call to Action on Climate Change, which was launched during the state visit of French President Francois Hollande in the Philippines.   Legarda, who authored the Climate Change Act and previously chaired the Senate Committees on Climate Change, Foreign Relations, and Finance, worked behind the scenes in pushing for the Philippines' ratification, explaining the Agreement to Cabinet members, and coordinating with various climate organizations.   Legarda also stated that the Philippines, as chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) during the negotiations in December 2015, was successful in championing the more ambitious climate goal of 1.5°C, compared to 2°C, in the final text of the Paris Agreement.   She noted that the 1.5°C goal, which was backed up by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is the threshold for survival for developing countries, as well as an opportunity for all countries to transition towards a low carbon and climate-resilient development path.   “We need bold climate action in terms of transformational planning and financing in all sectors, and we need the involvement of all actors in the community, most especially to spur locally led action. For all these, industrialized nations must lead towards the low carbon pathway. Only if the 1.5-degrees limit is met can we bring about sustainable industrial development and eradicate poverty,” Legarda concluded.
December 12, 2020 Saturday
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