Escudero twits Pnoy not to sit on the 1B ‘survival fund’ intended for LGU’s

Vice Presidential aspirant Sen. Chiz Escudero goaded Malacanang to release the 1B peso ‘People Survival Fund’ to local government units (LGU) and alleviate their sufferings due to unmitigated impacts of extreme weather events.

Unbeknownst to most local government units, there is such a thing as ‘People Survival Fund’ that they could use to boost their long-term mitigation and adaptation programs on climate change. This is revealed recently by Senator Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources.

Senator Escudero advised the local government units to take a proactive stance and tackle the root of the problem rather than taking a reactionary stance. He further added that the LGU’s cannot just go from storm to storm and flood to flood because obviously climate change is the culprit of all these extreme weather events.

People Survival Fund

it is a special fund created by virtue of Republic Act 10124 or An Act Establishing the People’s Survival Fund to Provide Long-Term Finance Streams to Enable the Government to Effectively Address the Problem of Climate Change.

The government is mandated to allocate 1B pesos for the PSF every year. If it remains untapped, the money will not revert to the National Treasury.

As of June 30 this year, there have been no releases from the 1B ‘survival fund’ for the year 2015.

The senator is baffled why the money is still there. He then asked, “What is the point of having this special fund if nobody uses it?” In the meantime, the local government units are left to fend for themselves with the impacts of climate change year-round- from long year droughts to deadly floods.

The good senator revealed that it has been 3 years since the ‘People Survival Fund’ was enacted and yet, there is no sign that the money is being released to the LGU’s. He asked, “What is stopping the government from releasing the money?”

While it was not stipulated in last year’s National Expenditure Program (NEP), 2016 is a different story for PSF because the P1 billion allocated as PSF “may likewise be used to cover any deficiency in the implementation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Program, and Yolanda Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program, subject to the approval of the President of the Philippines.”

The senator also added that the PSF may finance several local adaptation initiatives such as:

  • water resources and land management
  • risk insurance for farmers, agricultural workers and other stakeholders
  • infrastructure development and protection of natural ecosystems
  • monitoring of vector-borne diseases triggered by climate change
  • forecasting and early warning systems; contingency planning for droughts and floods
  • establishing and strengthening information networks to support adaptation initiatives
  • and other community support programs by organizations accredited by the Climate Change Commission

The LGU’s can avail the funds from the ‘People Special Fund’ by submitting proposals that have something to do with climate mitigation and adaptation projects to the Climate Change Commission, that serves as the secretariat of the PSF Board. After that, the commission will create a shortlist to determine the funding recipients.

Who comprises the PSF Board?

  • The Department of Finance
  • Climate Change Commission
  • National Economic Development Authority
  • Philippine Commission on Women
  • Department of the Interior and Local Government
  • Representatives from non-government organizations, business, and the academic and scientific community

Source: Maila Ager

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