3-year climate change program for PH launched

By Helen Flores, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 11 2014 09:08 AM | Updated as of Jul 11 2014 05:08 PM

MANILA- Various non-government organizations (NGOs), in partnership with the government, business groups and academe, launched yesterday a three-year program that aims to beef up efforts in making the Philippines more resilient to catastrophic events brought about by climate change.

The Carlos P. Romulo Foundation for Peace and Development, Zuellig Family Foundation and the Manila Observatory, in cooperation with the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, AIG Philippine Insurance and Federal Phoenix Assurance, hosted yesterday the first “Partnerships for Disaster and Climate Resilience” forum at the Manila Polo Club in Makati City.

Roberto Romulo, chairman of the AIG Philippine Insurance, said they would launch a series of conferences and workshops in the next three years in selected municipalities.

Romulo said they aim “to initiate and stimulate a continuing exchange of ideas and information on how best to build a resilient Philippine society.”

The speakers during yesterday’s forum included Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, vice chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Stephen Groff, vice president for operations of ADB; Federico Lopez, president and CEO of First Gen Corp.; Lucille Sering, vice chairman and executive director of the Climate Change Commission; Luiza Carvhalo, resident coordinator of the United Nations Development Program; Jose Ramon Villarin, Ateneo de Manila University president and Alexander Pama, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, among others.

Several local government officials also attended the event.

Carvhalo said the Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world.

Van Ypersele urged local government officials and private firms to invest more in renewable energy than fossil fuels.

“All sectors and regions have the potential to contribute (to climate change resilience initiatives) by 2030,” Van Ypersele said.

Sering said the government has passed laws on climate change adaptation.

She said since 2008, the budget allotted to government agencies for climate change-related activities has increased by 26 percent annually.

However, she noted that most of the funds were spent on recovery and rehabilitation.