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Legarda: China to give P140M for PH environmental projects

/ 06:02 PM April 21, 2017
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Sen. Loren Legarda. (File photo by RICHARD A. REYES / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

China will give the Philippines P140 million in assistance for environmental projects from its China South-South Climate Cooperation Fund.

Sen. Loren Legarda, chairperson of the Senate committee on climate change and the committe on finance, said she learned about the grant after speaking with Chinese Embassy officials.

She made the announcement at a news conference on Friday after the Climate Reality Project Leadership Awards held at the Senate.

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Legarda was among 30 awardees chosen by Climate Reality and was bestowed a Luntiang Kapawa (Green Illumination) Award, for her advocacy of green development and her work in bringing up the level of climate conversation and action in governance.

With this funding from China, she said the Philippines should not be overly worried about the pronouncement United States President Donald Trump that he would pull out funding for climate change mitigation projects.

“The US, while a major emitter of greenhouse gases and therefore has historical responsibility to fund developing nations, is not the only nation,” Legarda said. “With the vigilance of cities and states to do their own adaptation of reduction or mitigation in their areas, I don’t see the US withdrawing immediately and withdrawing any support.”

“In that hopefully not so near scenario of the US withdrawing any form of support to the Paris Agreement, there are other nations,” she added.

China set up the $3-billion South-South Climate Cooperation Fund to help developing countries curb the effects of climate change by adopting low-carbon, climate-resilient technologies and measures.

Right after the Senate concurred in the ratification of the Paris Agreement, Legarda received a call from former US Vice President Al Gore, who she said was ecstatic about the development.

According to her, Gore gave this bit of advice: “It’s really up to the Philippines and other like-minded countries to lead the way and to help enlighten the world on the issues of climate because it bears the brunt of extreme events.”

“We’re probably the poster boy of climate change because of Yolanda,” Legarda replied, using the local name for Supertyphoon Haiyan.

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She said that the Philippines would formally join on Saturday (April 22) the family of nations that has ratified the Paris Agreement. But she pointed out that, even before becoming an official signatory, the Philippines has already been receiving financial and technical assistance from Germany through its development agency, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

The Philippine government has also set aside P2 billion for the People’s Survival Fund, a special fund in the national treasury that will finance climate change adaptation programs and projects..

In her speech on accepting the Luntiang Kapawa Award, she enjoined all climate warriors to “simplify the message” of climate change in their communities.

“So we just don’t sound like experts or technicians and just keep on debating,” she said. “So that the issue of climate is operationalized and understood on the ground.”

She pointed out that the environmental laws she had authored and had been enacted would be reduced to mere ink on paper if they would be not implemented.

She praised Climate Reality for being instrumental in simplifying the laws so that all communities, including those in far-flung areas, could understand and benefit from them.

“The individuals and groups recognized by the Climate Reality Project prove that we can take action against climate change either through individual or community efforts,” she said. “They prove that we can all work, in our own and simple ways, to help resuscitate our ailing environment.” /atm/rga

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TAGS: China South-South Climate Cooperation Fund, China-Philippines relations, Climate Reality Project Leadership Awards, Loren Legarda, Paris agreement on climate change
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