PH climate commission work to suffer if placed under new dep't, says chief

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 19 2019 05:32 PM

Emmanuel M. de Guzman, Philippine Climate Change Commission Secretary (second from left), and other officials attend the United Nations climate talks Nov. 18, 2017 in Bonn, Germany. Apples Jalandoni, ABS-CBN News file photo

MANILA — Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman on Tuesday said he doesn’t think the Climate Change Commission (CCC) can perform its mandate if it becomes part of the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience.

Asked by reporters about the proposed bill being deliberated in the Senate, De Guzman said, “If it’s going to be proposed (to) subsume the Climate Change Commission to another agency, it may limit the work of the Climate Change Commission, within the context of the mission of that agency.”

Senators have said it is highly likely that the proposed bill will be approved because of the recent disasters, which include a series of earthquakes that hit Mindanao. 

There are several versions of the bill filed in the Senate, authored separately by Senate President Tito Sotto, Senators Sonny Angara, Pia Cayetano, Bong Go, Francis Tolentino and Francis Pangilinan.

The House of Representatives is also looking into passing its own version before the year ends.

Versions of the bill include a provision detailing a transfer of functions of the CCC and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience.

De Guzman explained that the proposed department will only address the human security aspect of climate change adaptation.

“Climate change adaptation is much much bigger or broader than disaster risk reduction,” he said at the sidelines of the Global Warming and Climate Consciousness Week launch. “Disaster risk reduction is just the first step to adaptation. And adaptation, we think of future risks, what would happen in the future, in terms of climate change projection and scenarios.”

Under the National Climate Change Action Plan, the CCC oversees seven key areas: food security, water sufficiency, ecosystem and environmental stability, human security, climate smart industries and services, sustainable energy, knowledge and capacity development.

De Guzman added that subsuming the climate commission under a disaster agency would be “detrimental to the nation because there will be other aspects of climate change adaptation and mitigation, especially our low carbon development efforts, that will not be attended to adequately because there will be no lead agency.”

The Secretary said what the CCC can do instead is have “strong convergence” with other agencies, including the proposed disaster resilience department.