The Philippines is the top three most vulnerable country to climate change according to an HSBC 2018 survey. India tops the list, and Pakistan at 2nd place, and Bangladesh comes in 4th place (Flores, 2018).
Recent news from the Manila Bulletin reports that Congressman from Camarines Sur 2nd district, Luis Raymond Villafuerte Jr filed a bill to create the Department of Climate Change.
The bill for the proposed Department of Climate Change Act states “to promote a simplified, strategic, systematic, continuous, comprehensive, inclusive, and integrated approach to climate change, and prevent or deter the loss of lives and the social, economic, cultural, and environmental assets of the country.”
According to the congressman, “Climate change is considered a national security as it endangers the safety of the Filipino people, food supply and economic stability” as 62% of the Filipinos live in coastal areas and half of the 1,490 municipalities are vulnerable to typhoons and coastal threats, he adds.
The bill, when approved, will result in a major restructuring of some national offices and departments. It will place multiple offices and integrate other offices under the new department, the article says.
“This bill will emphasize the importance of climate change residency and adaptation measures such as building flood defences and raising the levels of dykes; developing rough-tolerant crops; choosing tree species and forestry practices less vulnerable to storms and fires; stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations, and the like,” Villafuerte said.
“Due to the varying severity and nature of climate impacts in different areas of the country, most adaptation initiatives will be taken at the regional or local levels. It has been shown that well-planned, early adaptation action saves money and lives later.”
The new department will also mainstream climate change and climate adaption into government policies.
As the Philippines and its 110+ million residents face increased threats in climate change, this new bill and the ensuing Department of Climate Change will hopefully create resilience and improve the country’s quality of life, starting with the most vulnerable sector.