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PIA Press Release

Albay, MO, Chevron to ink MOA to combat climate change

by CT Dematera

Legazpi City (27 February) -- Albay would become the first province in the country to pioneer a tool to battle climate change, address disaster risks, and achieve sustainable development when a tripartite agreement on the creation of the Albay Sustainable Development Guidebook would be finally signed next week.

Albay provincial government, the Manila Observatory (MO) and Chevron Geothermanl Philippines (CGPHI) is expected to sign the Memorandum of Agreement on Thursday (February 24).

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said that the Guidebook is a response to the need to proactively address key issues of climate change and disaster preparedness in a local setting.

"This is the first time a study of this kind has been undertaken at the provincial scale, and we plan to make this a part of the accountability process in our land use planning," Salceda noted.

"I am proud that Albay will not only be the first province to take the lead in creating a comprehensive program for this critical issue, but also to serve as a model for other provinces and communities to follow," he said.

He added that MO is the Philippines' leading scientific research institution on climate change and has been appointed to manage this 20-month program to study the geological, climate, disaster risks, and socio-economic indicators specific to the province, and to provide effective recommendations to address these risks.

Salceda explained that study would be focusing on the area spanning the critical Malinao watershed and Tiwi coast within the province.

"MO, in coordination with the provincial government and CGPHI, will undertake and analyze extensive satellite, climate, and technical analysis and field work to fully determine these risks and recommendations which can, in turn, serve as a planning and development tool for the province," he explained.

For their part, Antonia Loyzaga, MO executive director, said that "their group believes that public-private partnerships between a scientific institution like MO, a proactive government such as Albay, and a private investor and corporate citizen in the form of Chevron, are among the most effective ways to confront the complexities of climate and disaster risks which can be replicated in other provinces.

"The ultimate goal is to build the capacities of provinces like Albay and others around the country so they can not only manage risks within their own communities, but together plan for the future by laying the foundation for the Philippines' response to climate change and sustainable development," she explained.

Tony Yee, president and general manager of CGPHI, which pioneered geothermal development in the country beginning in Tiwi, Albay, said that they partnered with MO and the Albay LGU by commissioning and funding the Guidebook as part of its Corporate Responsibility and Community Engagement Program.

"As a long-term partner to our host community, CGPHI believes this Guidebook will both sustain the watershed that supports our geothermal operations, while building the capacity and collaboration with our community stakeholders to improve disaster preparedness and mitigate the effects of climate change for now and the future," Yee said.

Salceda expressed confidence that once the Sustainable Development Guidebook is completed in June 2011, the findings will be utilized by the Albay LGU and shared with other municipalities for their development planning purposes. (Bucal/PIA) [top]

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