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PH to spend P100B on climate change projects

Spending gets bigger but benefits outweigh the cost

THE GOVERNMENT is spending more than P100 billion on climate change mitigating projects this year and next, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said on the sidelines of the inauguration of a solar power project.

Government investments in climate change measures nearly doubled in the last three years, and have reached about P100 billion or 4 percent of the 2015 budget, Abad said.

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On top of that, under the bottom-up budgeting process, community organizations in the grassroots level identified about P1.6 billion worth of related activities, Abad said.

“If it is P100 billion in 2015, I think there is going to be significant growth,” Abad said when asked how much more will be spent in 2016 for similar projects.

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Climate change mitigation projects range from flood control and typhoon-proofing of structures to the use of renewable energy resources. These also include building hard infrastructure such as classrooms, barangay centers, bridges and roads.

Such spending is getting bigger every year, Abad said, but the long-term benefits outweigh the costs.

According to recent studies, every $1 spent on climate change resiliency measures, the government will save about $4 on rehabilitation.

The Yolanda rehabilitation and reconstruction rescue efforts have, so far, cost the Philippines almost P180 billion. It will take the country about three years, up to about next year, to complete that process.

The Philippines is one of the countries worldwide seen as most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

“It’s not just about prevention. How do we make such adaptation measures more positive? How do we use rainfall so that we can divert them for water supply, irrigation, storage, and other uses. We now build huge cisterns under roads to be able to do this,” Abad said.

Before, classrooms and barangay centers could withstand 150 kilometers per hour (kph) winds but now they are being constructed to take on as high as 275 kph, Abad said.

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The more than 40,000 classrooms being constructed this year, for example, are being built with improved resiliency measures, Abad said.

All government agencies are reviewing and, if needed, redesigning infrastructure and production projects to align with climate change targets.

Consistent approaches for tagging at national and local levels facilitate a comprehensive national assessment of climate response and gaps across all sources of budget financing, according to the World Bank.

“One of the things we have done this year is to tag the budgets of all agencies so that it is easy to determine how much gov’t spending is on climate change mitigation. This is something we are doing with the World Bank,” Abad said.

“We have a climate change action plan that covers all agencies,” Abad said.

The government has also set in motion the piloting of the CC Expenditure Tagging (CCET) at the Local Government Unit (LGU) level from the 2015 budget onwards.

The DBM issued Local Budget Memorandum 68 encouraging LGUs to tag climate expenditures in their Annual Investment Plans. The Joint memorandum Circular 2014-01 includes guidelines and CC typology adopted from the national CCET.

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TAGS: Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Business, economy, News
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