November 12, 2014 – The first anniversary of super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) reminds us that the Philippines is already suffering from the impacts of climate change.
We at the Climate Change Network for Community-Based Initiatives (CCNCI) fear that not enough measures have been undertaken to prepare the country for future disasters.
While the Philippines may have the best legislations such as the Republic Act 9729 or the Climate Change Act of 2009 and the Republic Act 10121 or the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act, these policies have not substantially lessened the vulnerability of the poor in times of calamities. We, as a network of NGOs directly involved in disaster preparedness, rehabilitation and recovery, have witnessed this again and again. The situation in Yolanda-affected areas proves that much has yet to be done to address the impacts of climate change. One year after the tragedy, thousands still live in cramped, dangerous temporary shelters and the poor – farmers and fisherfolk – have not received adequate livelihood assistance.
It seems that the Aquino administration is not keen on complete rehabilitation, reconstruction and recovery of Yolanda-hit provinces. While the total damages and losses amounted to P571 billion, the Aquino administration’s Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP) is pegged at P171 billion or 30 percent of the actual needs.
If the country’s leaders have realized the seriousness of the issue at hand, why is the budget for climate change research, for example, is equivalent to only 0.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP)? The recommended allocation for climate change research is equivalent to two percent of the country’s GDP. To begin with, there is yet no comprehensive study on the impacts of climate change on the Philippines.
We at the CCNCI will continue to do our share in reducing the risks of disasters and mitigating the effects of climate change at the grassroots level. But we can only do so much given our limited resources. We urge our leaders to do more — invest in disaster preparedness, conduct science-based risk reduction and climate change adaptation, strengthen the barangay risk reduction management councils, among others.
We need to act now.
*CCNCI is composed mainly of four national networks that are engaged in people-oriented development programs and come from varying disciplines and expertise, the Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC), Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC), Philippine Network for Food Security Programs (PNFSP) and the Advocates for Community Health. Regional and provincial NGOs such as Kaduami, Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC), Community Empowerment Resource Network (CERNET), Farmers Development Center (FARDEC), Tuburan, IFI Visayas-Mindanao Regional Office for Development (IFI-VIMROD), Cordillera Women’s Education Action Reseach Center (CWEARC) and Integrated Development Program for Indigenous People (IDPIP) are also members of the network.