Nueva Ecija joins fight for poor people's resilience to climate change
San Fernando City, Pampanga (26 November) -- Fresh from its successful launch in Surigao City last week, the community-driven campaign DEPENSA! has made its second stop in Nueva Ecija Wednesday. Deputy House Speaker Erin Tanada and some 100 students and farmers and women leaders from various advocacy groups attended the event.
Spearheaded by international not-for-profit organization Oxfam and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC), The DEPENSA! campaign calls for the government to make adaptation or preparing Filipinos to projected climate impacts a national priority.
"Rallying support for the defense of poor farmers' livelihoods is urgent," said iCSC climate coordinator Ignacio Sayajon III.
According to Marie Nunez of Oxfam, "Climate change impacts in the Philippines are expected to intensify the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, which are projected to hit vulnerable communities, particularly women in rural areas, disproportionately."
In Nueva Ecija, for example, rice and other crops that take months to grow are under threat fons, which average 20 a year. "Nueva Ecija will need to shift to crops that are more resilient to climate change. It also needs to develop small water impounding systems (SWIPs) in anticipation of extreme drought," said Shubert Ciencia of Rice Watch Action Network (R1), which co-organized the launch in Nueva Ecija.
Most of the deadliest and damaging typhoons that hit the Philippines occurred in the last two decades, with an estimated cost of over 92 million pesos in direct damages. According to the Department of Agriculture, the value of lost crops due to Typhoon Juan this year in Nueva Ecija alone is at 1.59 billion pesos, where total damage to crops in Northern Luzon is at 10.59 billion pesos. Nueva Ecija is the worst hit in Northern Luzon in terms of area of rice lands affected at 80,594 hectares.
"Where disasters caused by climate change will also rack up vector- and water-borne diseases, women will also face the main of taking care of their families, their traditional gender role even as they continue to earn a living," said Rebecca Miranda of the Nueva Ecija-based Women Leaders Coalition, which has signed on the campaign.
The DEPENSA! campaign supports the bill filed by Congressman Tanada at the House of Representatives seeking to establish a People's Survival Fund (PSF). The PSF intends to finance adaptation programs and projects of local governments and communities. By crafting adaptation plans based on climate vulnerability, the PSF incentivizes early local adaptation action.
Oxfam is an international non-governmental organization working with others to find lasting solutions to poverty and human suffering. iCSC is Manila-based think tank working on fair climate policy and sustainable energy solutions. (OXFAM thru PIA 3) [top]