Most LGU projects for P1B climate change fund fail screening, DOF says

SINCE receiving regular allocations under the national budget in 2015, the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) has received 172 project proposals from 129 proponents (local government units and local community organizations) all over the country, amounting to a total of P14.57 billion worth of climate adaptation initiatives, according to a report from the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr).

The PSF was created under Republic Act (RA) 10174, which was signed into law in 2012 amending the Climate Change Act of 2009 but received its stipulated P1 billion replenishable fund allocation under the GAA regular fund only in 2015.

The P1 billion replenishable annual allocation intends to provide support on top of the yearly appropriations to LGUs for climate change related programs and projects.

According to the Department of Finance (DOF), among the activities eligible for funding by the PSF are projects on water resources management, land management, agriculture and fisheries, and health, along with other activities that serve as guarantee for the risk insurance needs of farmers, agricultural workers and other stakeholders.

However, most of the proposals submitted to the PSF have failed to pass the initial screening due to incomplete documents or because the project activities are not eligible.

PSF projects should clearly address the community’s climate vulnerabilities based on scientific and historical data. The objective of PSF projects is to provide an effective combination of engineering and non-engineering interventions, which directly address the area’s climate risks, and capacity building programs designed to empower the community and ensure project sustainability.

Moreover, as a suppletory fund, it serves to fill the funding gap for climate change projects that are not funded by other government agencies.

The PSF Board chaired by the DOF has so far approved P310.34 million worth of projects under the 2016 national budget benefiting six municipalities: Del Carmen, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte; Lanuza, Surigao del Sur; San Francisco, Camotes Island, Cebu; Gerona, Tarlac; Sarangani Province; and Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte.

To date, P147.46 million of the approved financing has been disbursed to the LGUs.

The BTr, which sits as alternate chair of the PSF Board, attributed this low disbursement rate to delays in project implementation owing to uncontrollable events such as the Covid-19 pandemic, natural disasters affecting the project sites, and the conduct of national elections.

Of the approved projects, only the municipality of Del Carmen in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte is on time in terms of implementation schedule, with the BTr already disbursing P39.24 million (48.6 percent) of the P80.7 million approved financing, de Leon said.

The BTr has so far disbursed P27.32 million of the P39.08 million approved amount for the project of municipality of Lanuza in Surigao del Sur; P5.41 million of the P33.89 million for the town of San Francisco in Camotes Island, Cebu; P5.71 million of the P38.1 million for Gerona in Tarlac; and P69.78 million of the P93.6 million for the province of Sarangani. (PR)


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