Friday, October 21, 2016

Albay lawmaker: China gave more support to PHL’s climate change position than US, EU
By Rhaydz B. Barcia

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 20 (PNA) -- Albay Rep. (2nd district) Joey Salceda said China has been more supportive of the Philippine’s position on climate change than the United States and European Union which have been contributing the most to carbon emissions in the world.

Formerly co-chairman of the United Nations Framework Convention and Climate Change (UNFCCC) Green Climate Fund, Salceda said both the US and EU had ignored the position of the Philippines in its fight against climate change.

He said at the UNFCCC Green Climate Fund the US and EU were always his opponents whenever he presented the position of developing countries on climate change but “China was always there supporting” the Philippine’s proposition.

“The US ignored our country...in our fight against climate change as they were not willing to pay for ... causing so much environmental havoc to developing countries,” Salceda said.

He said “it’s high time to have a strong alliance with China ...to get tangible support for the developing countries who are struggling against climate change.”

The Albay lawmaker also contested British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad’s pronouncement that the United Kingdom topped the list of foreign aid donors to victims of super typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

Ahmad said UK had donated $ 122.7 million as aid to the Yolanda victims.

Salceda, however, said the fund given was not aid or charity but a form of “climate justice” as compensation for losses and damage.

“It is not charity but climate justice as they hardly involved transfer cash, except for some $ 98 million donated by private individuals and organizations,” he said.

Salceda said the P35.6 billion that was given by foreign governments for the Yolanda victims paled in comparison to the P550.5 billion cumulative actual losses and damage the people of the Philippines suffered from 1990 to 2015 due to climate change caused by developed countries.

“If accounted at current prices, these would mount to P1.903 trillion,” he said.

Salceda added that the Yolanda aid projects were implemented by the donors themselves.

“To my best estimate, 40 percent was paid to their highly paid expatriate consultants and coordinators or their choice of contractors and sub-contractors,” he said.

Salceda said for the past few years, the Philippines has been suffering increasingly harsh climate-related events such as extreme episodes of storms, monsoon rains and El Niño.

He said this is due to climate change which was aggravated by the western countries who contributed greatly to greenhouse gas emissions.

Senator Loren Legarda, in a statement, said in the past 20 years, natural hazards had killed 1.35 million people, which was more than half of those who died in earthquakes with the remaining due to weather and climate-related hazards.

She said the Emergency Events Database of the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) had recorded 7,056 disasters worldwide during the period 1996 to 2015.

CRED said all over the world, tragedies of even greater magnitude had occurred, such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that claimed around 230,000 lives, 2008 cyclone Nargis that struck Myanmar and caused 138,000 deaths, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that killed 223,000 persons.

“In the Philippines, deaths caused by storms alone reached 15,880 during the period 2006-2015, which was significantly higher than the 3,970 storm deaths in the previous decade,” said Legarda.

She said this year’s International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR), which is celebrated every Oct. 13 through the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, had carried the slogan “Live to Tell.”

Legarda said the IDDR event focused on reducing global disaster mortality, the first of the seven targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

She said in 2005, governments around the world had adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action which aimed at “substantially reducing disaster losses in lives and in the social, economic and environmental assets of communities and countries” by 2015.

The Philippine government for its part enacted the the Climate Change Act of 2009, which was touted by lawmakers as a “landmark legislation on disaster and climate risk management.”

This was amended by the People’s Survival Fund of 2012, and the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, which has institutionalized and mainstreamed disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the development policies, plans and programs and public funding of local government units. (PNA) LAP/GVR/RBB/EDS