FIFTEENTH CONGRESS OF THE )
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES )
First Regular Session
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
H.B. No. ____
Introduced by Representative Lorenzo R. Tañada III
The scientific community has overwhelmingly concluded that climate change poses grave risks to the long-term well-being of developing countries such as the Philippines. It is today a recognized fact that the impacts of the climate crisis will fall disproportionately on peoples that have contributed least to the global menace. The Philippines is particularly vulnerable to climate change not just because of its distinct national circumstances but because of the disorder as well by which the country has largely responded to the climate crisis.
For this reason, Congress enacted R.A. 9729, otherwise known as the “Climate Change Act of 2009″, to enable the government to consolidate and coordinate its efforts and to mobilize different sectors of society to confront the growing risks posed by climate change. Among other provisions, the law established the Climate Change Commission to lead the country’s response to the increasing severity and frequency of impacts due to warming temperatures worldwide.
It is not enough, however, to name the problem or create a body that can coordinate the country’s plan of action with respect to the climate crisis. To accomplish the objectives of the law, long-term, predictable and transparent sources of finance need to be established, based on nationally accepted fiduciary standards yet accessible to communities most vulnerable to climatic impacts. Unclear provisions in the law also need to be re-formulated to ensure the Commission plays the coordinative, capacity building leadership role envisioned by R.A. 9729, particularly with regard to harnessing government and non-government expertise, leveraging and managing climate change-related finance, and directing urgently needed monies towards adaptation programs that can make local governments and communities more resilient in the face of the climate crisis.
At present, more funds have come into the country for mitigation efforts instead of adaptation programs and projects. Worse, finance for adaptation activities have come in the form of loans. Consistent with the position championed by the Philippines abroad, which calls for climate finance to be channeled towards vulnerable countries and communities not as charity or aid but as compensation, arresting the governance chaos prevailing over the administration of climate finance that has already entered national coffers is urgent. National priorities must be reflected coherently and consistently in terms of the scale, sources and uses of finance leveraged from abroad and mobilized domestically.
In full support of the country’s commitment to defend the interests of vulnerable peoples from the ravages of climate change, this legislative initiative seeks to establish the People’s Survival Fund to directly support the adaptation action plans of local government units and communities. The Fund is to act as a “reward” fund that will finance local government and community adaptation action plans and thus encourage and accelerate the formulation of climate action at the local level and at the same time complement efforts to mainstream climate change in the national planning and budgeting process.
The Fund shall be taken from different sources including but not limited to the following: (a) the General Appropriations Act; (b) part of the cash dividends declared by all Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations; (c) a portion of the Certified Emission Reduction units earned under the UN-instituted Clean Development Mechanism and other domestic transactions utilizing the international carbon market; and (d) a portion of the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge. The Fund shall be used to support different programs and projects for climate change adaptation as stated in our national goals, in keeping with nationally accepted public accountability
The establishment of the Fund, as herein provided, the creation of the People’s Survival Fund Board for its administration and institutional measures, and the other amendments to R.A. 9729, are geared towards the observance of necessary coordination and collaboration that harnesses the immense expertise inherent in other government agencies and which will provide offices, particularly local government units and communities, with the policy framework most relevant to efforts to address climate change. All resources and power borne out of such duties, therefore, is expected to be utilized in the most efficient, effective and transparent manner in keeping with public interest.
In view of the foregoing, early approval of this bill is earnestly sought.
- LORENZO R. TAÑADA III