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Senate passes Climate Change Act on Final Reading

MANILA, Philippines (from PhilStar Article) - The proposed Climate Change Act of 2009 was passed by the Senate on third and final reading, along with 11 other bills as Congress holds its last session day today.

Congress resumes session on July 27 in time for President Arroyo’s last State of the Nation Address.

Senate Bill No. 2583, An Act Mainstreaming Climate Change into Government Policy Formulations and Creating the Climate Change Commission, highlights the synergistic action needed in dealing with the climate crisis and in reducing the risk of disasters associated with global climate change.

Sen. Loren Legarda, the bill’s author and sponsor, welcomed the passage as a “step in the right direction” in mainstreaming into government’s policy formulation and development planning the various measures needed to help address the problem of climate change.

The bill seeks to create a Climate Change Commission to oversee the implementation of government policies to mitigate and adapt to the threats posed by climate change.

Climate change is blamed on global warming which, in turn, is partly due to the continuing increase in global greenhouse gas emissions by man.

Climate change takes varied forms, including very strong typhoons, out-of-season rains and droughts.

SB 2583 incorporates the amendments of Legarda’s committee, as well as the individual amendments of Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Pia Cayetano.

Mrs. Arroyo will head the proposed Climate Change Commission, with the secretaries of various government agencies, the presidents of the leagues of cities, municipalities and barangays and representatives from the academe, business, non-government-organizations and civil society serving as ex-officio members.

The commission shall have the following tasks:

• Ensure the mainstreaming of climate change and disaster risk reduction into development plans and programs at all levels;

• Coordinate and synchronize climate change programs of national government agencies;

• Formulate a Framework Strategy and Program on Climate Change and exercise policy oversight to ensure that the goals set are attained; and

• Strengthen local government units to effectively address climate change issues.

The commission may also recommend legislation, policies, strategies, programs on and appropriations for climate change adaptation; review and recommend the approval of major development investments in climate-sensitive sectors; create an enabling environment for the design of relevant and appropriate risk-sharing and risk-transfer instruments; create an enabling environment for the promotion of linkages between and encourage broader multi-stakeholder participation in climate change mitigation and adaptation; and formulate strategies on greenhouse gas mitigation.

To aid the commission in the discharge of its duties, a climate change office shall serve as its secretariat which will be headed by an executive director.

The Framework Strategy and Program on Climate Change shall serve as the basis for planning, research and development, extension and monitoring of climate change activities.

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