LGUs pushed to act urgently on climate change plans

Climate Change Commissioner senior consultant Michael Aragon kicked off the 1st Guimaras Climate Change Summit in San Lorenzo, Guimaras on July 11, 2023, urging the island province’s local government units to come up with their Local Climate Change Action Plans (LCCAPs) and institutionalize them through legislation. (Contributed photo)

By Joseph Bernard A. Marzan

The Climate Change Commission on Tuesday called on local government units (LGUs) to craft their respective Local Climate Change Action Plans (LCCAPs), and those with existing plans to be institutionalized.

The CCC made the call during the 1st Guimaras Climate Change Summit in San Lorenzo town, which was attended by local and regional officials.

In his opening message, CCC senior consultant Michael Aragon said the key goal of the local summit is for the swift development of LGUs’ Expanded LCCAPs, and their eventual “permanence” via ordinance.

Aragon added that they may commit to assist LGUs to seek additional funding from the national government to ensure the implementation of these plans.

“We would like to congratulate [Nueva Valencia town] because I think they are one of the towns in Guimaras that have submitted their LCCAPs [to the CCC]. But what we would like to do is not just to put it in writing, we would like [the LGUs] to pass an ordinance, things from these particular LCCAPs,” Aragon said.

“There’s a difference between mere words and action. That’s why it’s an action plan. If an action plan is just written and left on paper, it’s nothing. However, when it becomes and ordinance, there’s already an [actual] action. There are laws, penalties, and we can allocate budgets so we can implement these,” he added.

Aragon pointed out that local policy solutions are key to mitigating the effects of climate change, which he noted as a human rights issue.

He cited the El Niño-La Niña phenomena, which impact agriculture and local economies.

“Climate change is a human rights issue. It’s not just [the] environment. Climate issues are deeper, [and] we consider it as [a] human rights issue because it impacts the basic rights of everybody, as guaranteed by the [1987] Constitution,” he said.

“The right to life, the right to food, the right to a safe environment, everything is there, and climate change violates these rights, especially the poor Guimarasnon who are impacted by the negative effects of climate change here,” he added.

The keynote speaker, Assistant Secretary Virgilio Lazaga of the Cooperatives Development Authority (CDA), highlighted how climate has affected the cooperatives sector as well.

This was supported by CDA-Region 6 Director Nora Patron in her own message, reminding that responding to climate change was an individual responsibility of each Filipino.

“We are here from the [CDA] with the [CCC] to aspire [and] to inspire before we expire. So many issues have already been discussed by [Aragon], but the problem is how are we going to initiate these changes in order to comply with our Mother Earth,” Lazaga said.

LCCAPs are action plans formulated by the LGUs to address climate change concerns, focusing on adaptation and mitigation, and describing their response plans and how these would be mainstreamed into their local development plans.

The formulation in LCCAPs is based on the provision of Republic Act No. 9729 (Climate Change Act of 2009), as amended by Rep. Act No. 10174 (establishing the People’s Survival Fund), which aims to mainstream climate change adaptation and mitigation into local and national policy.