Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Legarda Renews Call for Disaster-Resilient and Climate-Proof National Budget
MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call for a national budget that ensures the integration of disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) and climate change adaptation in government policies and programs.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, made the statement as the Senate is set to start marathon budget hearings following the briefing by the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) on the 2015 National Expenditure Program (NEP).
“Government agencies, especially those integral to disaster resilience, should already have included in their programs proactive measures to reduce disaster risks as well as to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We need to stress the importance of a climate-proof and disaster-resilient budget because one disaster can greatly affect our people and our economy,” she said.
The Senator noted that during the DBCC briefing, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said that the government recognizes the need to focus on disaster prevention and preparedness.
Under the 2015 NEP, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRM) Fund increased to P14-Billion. The NDRRM Fund for 2014 was P13-Billion.
Other priority programs for DRRM and CCA include the strengthened management of the country’s natural ecosystems, improved flood control and drainage projects, and carbon sequestration through the National Greening Program.
“As we proceed with the budget hearings, I would like to check if DRR programs under the 2014 budget have been implemented efficiently and effectively, particularly the NDRRM Fund, which was formerly the calamity fund and was converted as such to fund pre-disaster activities, and the People’s Survival Fund, which should finance climate change adaptation activities of local governments and organizations. Before we even approve a new budget, we have to see how the previous funds were used and look into the challenges in the implementation so that we can already provide remedy,” said Legarda.
She also said that since ecosystems decline is among the underlying drivers of disaster risks and poverty, in the context of climate change, “we must improve our green policies, which should be integrated in our development strategies, and ensure adequate funding on the same, especially on the protection of our ecosystems.”
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