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Gov’t to invest P10 billion in ‘vulnerable’ provinces

By Digna Banzon

Some P10 billion worth of investments will be poured in provinces that are vulnerable to climate change, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu said Wednesday, July 17, in Davao City.

Cimatu, also the chairperson of the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction, was in the city for the pre-SONA (State of the Nation Address) forum.

Cimatu said the investments include agricultural and fisheries development, environmental protection and management, social welfare and livelihood development, water resources management, and infrastructure development.

“The government shall continue to pursue policy reforms that integrate climate and disaster risk considerations into development policies, strategies, plans, and programs,” he added.

Cimatu underscored the importance for farmers to better understand the effects of Climate Change and they must learn to adapt and reduce their vulnerability.

Together with DENR, he said the Department of Agriculture (DA) will conduct “climate-smart” farm business training nationwide, while the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will scale-up assistance to agrarian reform beneficiaries to enhance their resiliency.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM), meanwhile, will enhance access to financial resources, Cimatu said, while convergence programming and budgeting will also be pursued with national government agencies and local governments of climate-vulnerable provinces.

Moreover, the DENR chief said the government will continue to pursue policy reforms “that integrate climate and disaster risk considerations into development policies, strategies, plans, and programs.”

“We consider it an urgent task to strengthen current institutions through the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience,” he said.

He also sees the need to manage broader climate-disaster governance arrangements, and oversee the implementation of disaster risk and vulnerability reduction and management.

“The proposed prohibition of the conversion of irrigated lands will ensure building our resiliency as this will address the threats to the country’s food security,” he said.

Cimatu also said that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has set aside over a billion pesos worth of assistance for the work program for hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries.

To enhance preparedness, he said the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will install several flood forecasting and warning systems in major river basins, a borehole seismic station in Kanlaon Volcano in Negros Island, and a probabilistic seismic hazard analysis in Metro Davao.

He said the Department of Information Communication Technology (DICT) will also implement programs on communications technology to prepare the communities and local government units in case of disasters.

“We will continue to mainstream the use of alternative fuels and energy technology in the transport sector and we will monitor the implementation of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act,” he said.

The Department of Energy (DoE) on the other hand, will intensify the development of renewable energy in off-grid areas for wider access to the populace. Cimatu said that during and after calamities, they will strengthen energy systems and facilities through energy resiliency program.

Housing will also be addressed through the Housing Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), which will build more than 20,000 permanent housing units to be provided nationwide for families affected by calamities.

Cimatu also asked the help of Congress for the adoption of a national land-use policy that will “optimize balanced development.”

Complementing this policy, he said, is the proposed delineation of forests limits, which will enable us to sustainability manage, conserve and protect the country’s remaining forests from further destruction.

Cimatu is one of the Cabinet members tasked with holding a pre-SONA ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth SONA on July 22. (First published by PNA, July 17, 2019)

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