Senator Edgardo J. Angara underscored the importance of crafting a comprehensive, information-driven plan which the Philippines should implement to deal with natural disasters brought about by climate change.
Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, cited a recent report from PAGASA entitled “Climate Change in the Philippines” showing projections for 2020 and 2050 with dry seasons getting drier and wet seasons getting wetter.
“Our researchers illustrated that our weather will only become more extreme in the coming years, affecting so many aspects of our lives—like how we conduct our agriculture, or where we should build our homes,” said Angara, who is also Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).
He continued, “So far-reaching is the impact of climate change that our approach to preparing ourselves can only be effective if it is holistic and broad-minded. Our efforts should not be piecemeal.”
The veteran lawmaker noted that President Aquino had earlier approved the adoption of the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) drafted by the Climate Change Commission (CCC).
The NCCAP outlines strategic priorities which include among others things Food Security, Water Sufficiency, and Knowledge and Capacity Development.
“No doubt, this is a welcome development but one that should be seen as only the first of many steps,” stressed Angara.
He then explained, “There will be a need for us to continuously monitor and review this plan, which highlights how important it is to keep on gathering and sharing climate change data especially those related to natural disasters. This means that all stakeholders must deepen their understanding of the science involved.”
Angara noted that around P60 million has been allotted in the 2012 budget for the creation of an innovation cluster comprised of representatives from government, academe and industry that will conduct research and development related to Disaster Science and Management.
“COMSTE is currently working with various SUCs, government agencies and industry partners towards establishing such a public-private partnership. We hope that this cluster would evolve into a Philippine Disaster Science and Management Center which can act as a clearinghouse of all related data gathered not only by our local researchers but also by climate experts from around the world,” explained Angara. “The recent devastation in Northern Mindanao should only underline the necessity of such a project.” (30)