Fiscal constraints limit Philippines' climate mitigation efforts, says DENR chief

Rowegie Abanto, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 03 2023 02:11 AM

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — The Philippines' environment department on Thursday said it is facing fiscal constraints that limit its ability to address the impacts of the climate crisis in the disaster-prone nation.

"The reality is kulang talaga, ang (we’re lacking) resources to finance what are the impacts already known to the Philippines in terms of climate change," Environment Secretary Ma. Antonia "Toni" Yulo-Loyzaga told a media briefing here. "Unfortunately, the way we are set up, the fiscal constraints [are] very tight."

According to the UN, climate change is making extreme weather events more intense and frequent

A study by the Global Peace Index in 2019 showed that the Philippines is the most susceptible country to hazards brought about by climate change.

Yulo-Loyzaga said the agency has so much on its plate already, which includes protecting thousands of hectares of coastal areas and millions of hectares of classified forest lands.

"We cannot — at the level of the budget at this point and human resources available — do an added quick job of protecting all of our ecosystems," the environment chief lamented.

But the issue, she said, can be addressed with the combination of legislation, budgeting innovation, and pushing different stakeholders "to do their share."

Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, the environment undersecretary for finance, information systems, and climate change, said expenditure planning is conducted to address the climate financing gap. 

"So we know what kind of activities do we fund to ensure that we support climate action... and rationalize limited resources," she said.


As developed nations, including developing countries, report they can't manage their own climate risks, a new landscape for climate financing has emerged, said Yulo-Loyzaga.

"There is a strong presence of the climate sector in the form of philanthropies and actual corporations that are saying they also have a role in terms of financing the mitigation and adaptation to climate change," she said. 

"We need to understand how all of that is changing in terms of being able to access the right type of climate finance for the country," added.

The DENR in Mindanao is holding its third and final leg of a series of consultations with the academe, NGOs, and private groups that started last year, in a bid to come up with a "foundation" for fresh environment resilience policies.

— with a report from Agence France-Presse