25 signatures reached
To: Philippine National Government
Reform Our DRRM Strategy and Pursue Climate Justice Now
1. Prioritize DRRM and climate adaptation
Given the worsening climate crisis and other potential threats, the government must treat DRRM and climate adaptation as one of its top priorities and dedicate sufficient funding and attention to these two issues. It can begin by reallocating the proposed P19.1 billion 2021 budget for the NTF-ELCAC’s activities, or at least a significant portion of it, to the NDRRMF. Future national budgets must also allocate additional funds to strengthen our research and development on DRRM and climate change adaptation. This includes the continuation of Project ISAIAH, a platform that would have allowed locals and experts to work together on risk mapping and helped LGUs determine the amount of relief it needs to provide.
We also urge the national government to emphasize humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the Revised AFP Modernization Program by focusing the budgets of the navy and air force on the acquisition of maritime and airtime capabilities in support of HADR. They must also balance the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ annual budget allocation and re-channel it to DRRM. Aside from funding, the AFP must strengthen search and rescue training for both its active and reserve units.
At the local level, NGAs must provide the necessary resources and training to assist LGUs in adhering to policies and meeting DRRM targets and objectives. This includes further capacity building on climate change adaptation, laws and policies related to DRRM and climate, development of DRRM plans, community-based hazard and risk-mapping, and development of climate change adaptation projects in line with the guidelines on the People’s Survival Fund.
2. Coordinate and collaborate with stakeholders at the national and local levels
National government agencies, in consultation with LGUs and civil society, must develop overall DRRM targets and delineate their roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities in achieving those objectives. They must also communicate and translate these into actionable policies and steps LGUs must take.
Some of the key policy areas that must be prioritized are procedures for relief assistance on the part of the national and local government, standardization of recovery and reconstruction programs, open and consolidated data on DRRM and climate, and workflows on local and national disaster response.
During recovery and rehabilitation, NGAs must continue coordinating and supporting LGUs in terms of funding and service delivery to carry out recovery and reconstruction programs. In carrying out these initiatives, NGAs and LGUs must work with the private sector and civil society to ensure efforts are sustainable and adhering to structural standards.
3. Pursue Climate Justice
As the second most vulnerable country to climate impacts, the Philippines suffers an average of 20 typhoons per year. This will worsen as the world continues with its carbon-hungry and destructive approaches to economic development. Not only must we prepare ourselves to face the climate crisis, but we must demand accountability from big polluters and stronger action from the government.
We call on the national government to stop extractive and invasive activities such as the Kaliwa Dam, the vast quarrying in Rizal, and logging in the Sierra Madre — all of which have directly contributed to the overflowing rivers and flooding triggered by the typhoons. Instead, they should increase support for the rehabilitation of degraded forestlands and watersheds to repair the damage.
A shift in strategy is also needed. Amending the 2011 National Climate Change Action Plan to include binding targets and mandatory mitigation measures will push public-sector organizations to change their strategic goals and outcomes and invest in research and development on renewable energy, energy-efficient and decentralized technology, and biodiversity awareness and conservation. It will also accelerate the decarbonization of energy supply by continuing to increase the share of renewable energy in power generation.
Lastly, the Philippines must take on a stronger stance in their climate negotiations by demanding destructive industries and negligent governments shoulder the damages in affected communities, including the mitigation and adaptation, needed by vulnerable countries.
Why is this important?
Three typhoons hit the Philippines in less than one month. Typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysees battered Luzon, damaging homes and livelihoods and forcing thousands of families to leave their homes.
Like with past disasters and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, these storms revealed deep structural gaps in our country’s disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) and climate adaptation. In each of these storms, disempowered local government units had to stretch their already insufficient resources because of delays in the response of the national government, which was once again caught flat-footed.
At a time where the country faces ever-worsening threats, the current administration slashed the appropriation for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund. Even more damning is the lack of a coherent national strategy for mitigation, preparedness, and response. We believe no amount of spending can make up for an uncoordinated and ad-hoc approach.
This is why we are demanding that the government develop a national strategy focusing on three areas: prioritization of DRRM and climate adaptation; coordination and collaboration with stakeholders at the national and local levels; and pursuit of Climate Justice.
Over the years, survivors have learned recovery, perseverance, and the pursuit for justice. Meanwhile, governments and corporations responsible for environmental disasters have remained unflinching in their non-action. The lack of policy implementation, long-term solutions, and radical change is glaring proof of the negligence of governments and exploitative industries, as they continue to profit off of environmental destruction that are causing these climate-related disasters.
We refuse to reduce resilience to a front-page photo of a person smiling amid floodwaters. Local and national governments must face responsibilities beyond immediate relief response. True resilience in climate-impacted communities should mean weather-proof infrastructure, independent energy systems, and development centered on sustainability.