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PIA Press Release
2009/10/24

Bohol eco-advocates see better world with climate change law

Tagbilaran City (24 October) -- A self confessed environmentalist who has been thinking globally but acted locally sees a better world, with the signing of an act that institutionalizes the country's response to climate change.

It finally veers environmental sustainability advocacy into the mainstream, cries an advocate who pleaded not to be identified.

Himself silently engaging in environment work and paralleling legislative advocacy, he said he sometimes felt his efforts are just drops in an ocean.

He claimed the Philippine Climate Change Act of 2009 or Republic Act No. 9729 has now mainstreamed programs and strategies that allow communities to deal with the effects of disasters and weather aberrations.

The said the law makes it a government policy to formulate and establish programs and strategies to deal with the increased frequency and intensity of disasters as a result of changes in the climatic pattern.

Also citing the provincial government's efforts to map out disaster areas, form search and rescue teams and regularly perform disaster drills are steps on the right track, but a national framework strategy and program on climate change would be a huge help.

Still admitting he has not read the law, he hopes the strategies focus more on mitigation and adaptation: two instruments to battle climate change.

Reports appearing online bare that under the law, an autonomous policy-making body, known as Climate Change Commission, to be headed by the president, will set up, coordinate, monitor, and evaluate action plans for the express purpose of preparing the country against heavy rainfall that bring floods and landslides, as well as strong winds, as a result of typhoons.

The law also creates a roadmap to reduce risk of disasters on one hand and keep local carbon emissions within manageable levels on the other.

Called Disaster Risk Reduction or DRR, this program includes emergency preparedness and rescue and relief operations.

The Climate Change Commission will have as members the presidents of the League of Provinces, League of Cities, League of Municipalities, and the Liga ng mga Barangay, to mark the crucial involvement of local communities in addressing climate change.

"This pioneering landmark bill is the first in ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) and probably in Asia," bill sponsor Loren Legarda said. (PIA) [top]

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