Sectors demand release of People’s Survival Fund

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

ACADEMES and scientists call on the release of funds that could be used for disaster risk reduction measures against the dangers of natural calamities caused by the changing climate.

Disaster risk reduction and management expert from Australian National University, Dr. Doracie Zoleta-Nantes said: “The People’s Survival Fund has an appropriation of P1 billion every year since 2012.”

She said the money could have been used to increase the capability of the people to protect themselves from natural calamities like storm surges, floods and other weather-related catastrophes.

Nantes added the funds could also provide for the usable and necessary knowledge for the people on the ground.

Representative from the only Climate Change Academy in the Philippines located in Albay, Jukes Nuñez, said the budget could have been utilized to employ measures that could save lives before the storms took lives.

When asked about the best pre-emptive ways against disasters, he said: “We should focus on preparedness and mitigation activities.”

He added that education in the barangay level is important which involves capacity building, early warning systems, and localized evacuations to achieve ‘zero casualties.’

‘What a shame’

Environmental lawyer Jennifer Ramos said it has been three years since the law was passed but there was no implementing rules and regulations (IRR) signed by the President that was established.

She added that there is no mechanism available to access the funds, and the People’s Survival Board has not convened even once.

“What a shame, especially in light of Yolanda’s mind-boggling destruction,” said Ramos.

Call for release

In a press statement, the call for the release of the People’s Survival Fund as mandated by the Philippine Constitution was signed by representatives from the provincial government of Misamis Oriental and the city government of Cagayan de Oro.

Representatives from Mindanao State University–Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT), Capitol University and Mindanao University of Science and Technology have also called for the release of the PSF.

The two sectors’ plea was in line with the idea that recently the natural hazards have become unpredictable, destructive and increasing in intensity, which makes Misamis Oriental including Cagayan de Oro City vulnerable.

The group also wants the Climate Change Commission to come up with an IRR and guidelines for accredited organizations to access such funds.

The press statement further said: “The PSF Board must convene and formulate the guidelines on how the LGUs and accredited local organizations can access the said fund.”

Moreover, the group demanded for the PSF Board to convene before the end of December 2013 and release the guidelines in January 2014 to expedite release of funds in February 2014.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 12, 2013.

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