Gov't launches P1B People's Survival Fund to cushion climate change effects

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A woman washes clothes amidst rubble and debris on November 20, 2013 in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan, which ripped through the Philippines on November 9, has been described as one of the most powerful typhoons ever to hit land, leaving thousands dead and hundreds of thousands homeless.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The government launched the People's Survival Fund (PSF) on Wednesday (October 28), which is meant to cushion the effects of climate change.

With a P1 billion allocation, sourced from the 2015 national budget, the PSF board said that the fund might be used for projects that prevent or mitigate the effects of climate change and natural disasters.

Examples of such projects are the planting of flood-tolerant crops, purchasing of early warning systems, creating health programs for diseases associated with the climate, and building of roads with drainage systems to help cope with severe rain, among others.

Climate Change Commission Assistant Secretary Joyceline Goco said that priority areas where the PSF might be used include local government units (LGUs) with high poverty incidence and are exposed to climate risks.

However, she clarified that all projects are subject to the board's approval.

At present, 13 LGUs have already submitted their project proposals and the Climate Change Office (CCO) is urging other LGUs to send their climate adaptation project proposals as well. The PSF board said that a month is needed to review the proposal before giving a feedback.

Goco explained that whatever amount is left from the fund would be added to next year's P1 billion budget of the PSF.

"The P1 billion is still intact. Whatever will be the balance, puwede pa siya ma-transfer sa 2016. Annually may P1 billion allocated sa GAA (General Appropriations Act) for PSF."

The PSF was signed into law in 2012 by President Benigno Aquino III, but it took a while before it was implemented to finalize the mechanisms under it.

The World Bank said the Philippines faces economic losses from climate change amounting to 2.5 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP) per year. In 2010, this equaled to about $45 billion. Such losses are expected to increase to up to $418 billion in 2030.