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PBBM presents landmark PSF-approved climate adaptation funds worth over PHP 541-M to LGU beneficiaries

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has officially presented the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) Resolutions approving a historic amount of over PHP 541 million for climate adaptation projects to local government unit (LGU) beneficiaries, marking a significant stride in the nation’s battle against climate change.

Established under Republic Act No. 10174 in 2012, the PSF had an initial capitalization of PHP 1 billion to finance adaptation programs and projects of LGUs and accredited local and community organizations.

The recent approval of the six (6) new climate adaptation projects worth over PHP 541 million brings the total number of PSF-funded projects to 11 climate adaptation initiatives and 6 projects for Project Development Grants (PDG), amounting to a combined PHP 889.6 million. This increased the PSF’s utilization rate to 89 percent, leaving only 11 percent of the initial allocation of PHP 1 billion.

The PSF Board hopes that the Fund will be replenished to finance new project proposals.

Among the beneficiaries, the Provincial Government of Mountain Province, led by Governor Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr., received a grant worth PHP 271.15 million for the construction of a Climate Field School (CFS) for farmers.

The CFS, which will be constructed inside the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College’s (MPSPC) 285-hectare Paracellis Campus, aims to increase the yields of the agriculture and fisheries sectors and mitigate the risks of climate change through good agricultural practices and sustainable resource management.

Meanwhile, the Municipality of Maramag, Bukidnon, represented by Mayor Jose Joel P. Doroma, secured a PSF grant worth PHP 126.40 million for the installation of drainage and early warning systems as well as the development of the agroforestry industry.

The project, which underwent Climate Rationale Review and Evaluation (CRRE) and the Climate Change Commission’s (CCC) validation process, aims to reduce flood risks as well as build the climate resilience and adaptive capacity of vulnerable communities and the local governance of Maramag.

Specifically, the project has four (4) main components namely, Improved Flood Management System, Strengthened River Ecosystem Management, Intensified Response Capacity of LGU, and Agroforestry Social Enterprise Livelihood Development.

The City Local Government of Borongan City, Eastern Samar, through Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan C. Agda, received a grant worth PHP 117.96 million for the installation of embankment infrastructure and reforestation for enhanced flood control of the Lo-om River.

The project involves the construction of an enhanced flood control system for the Lo-om riverbank using embankment infrastructure with 507.6 meters in length and increased height from 2.60 meters to 4.70 meters, preventing barangays surrounding the area from being inundated by flood waters.

It likewise involves reforestation in the upstream area of the Lo-om River which includes 20 hectares of denuded land and 50 hectares of land along the banks of said river.

In addition, capacity building for the local government officials and community residents in the operation of the early warning system will also be conducted alongside training on coco coir and coco wine production as an alternative source of income for the affected residents.

The Municipality of Cabagan, Isabela, represented by Mayor Christopher A. Mamauag, was provided a grant worth PHP 21.28 million for the installation of an irrigation project.

The project, which is consistent with the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) Strategic Priority No. 1 of Food Security, will use three (3) Solar-Powered Irrigation System (SPIS) in three (3) barangays, namely Mabangug, Masipi East, and San Antonio, to irrigate drought-affected farmlands thereby increasing total agricultural yield during drought season.

The target farmlands of up to 120 hectares are owned by the farmer-beneficiaries and shall be replicated in other barangays also affected by drought upon successful implementation of the pilot program.

Meanwhile, the Municipality of Catanauan, Quezon Province, represented by Mayor Ramon A. Orfanel, was granted PSF funding worth PHP 2.64 million for its Mangrove rehabilitation project.

The project aims to address the vulnerability of the municipality to storm surges and flooding, especially in Brgy. Matandang Sabang Kanluran (MSK). This will include activities such as nursery establishment, training, capacity buildings, an Information and Education Campaign (IEC), mangrove tree planting, and wildlife protection and monitoring.

Finally, the Municipality of Besao, Mountain Province, through Mayor Bryne O. Bacwaden, received a grant worth PHP 2.00 million for the Water Harvesting Structures Project.

The project includes the construction of five (5) water-impounding structures along Lacayan River, which will be used as a rainwater catchment facility to prevent flashfloods during the wet season; an irrigation source for the municipality’s rice terraces during the dry season; and siltation control facility.

The project aims to increase the municipality’s resiliency and disaster risk reduction preparedness to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change and to improve the quality of life through enhanced food security for the people of Besao.

Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, who is the chairperson of the PSF Board, attributed the swift approvals of the new projects to the streamlined review process initiated by the Department of Finance (DOF).

In the past, two primary issues hindered the swift processing of project approval by the PSF Board: the lack of capacity to prepare bankable projects and the tedious procedures.

Upon taking up the role of PSF Secretariat in 2017, the DOF initiated measures to expedite fund utilization and streamline the project proposal process. This has resulted in the formulation of a Financing Agreement template––a crucial document that facilitates the transfer of funds to the recipients.

On top of this, the DOF collaborated with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) to design a fund transfer flow mechanism and swiftly acted on pending projects in tandem with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

Moreover, the capacity-building function was delegated to the Climate Change Commission (CCC), which now collaborates individually with LGUs to conduct one-on-one consultations to guide proponents through the drafting process and necessary paperwork for PSF grants.

The CCC and other member agencies of the PSF Board are continuously collaborating closely in order to efficiently identify and address bottlenecks in the system.

Moving forward, Secretary Diokno said the PSF Board shall adopt a rolling system of approval, subject to replenishment through the General Appropriations Act (GAA), or grants, endowments, and contributions from organizations and partners.

During the ceremonial presentation of the PSF Resolutions, the President was joined by members of the multi-sectoral PSF Board, namely DOF Secretary Diokno, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos, Jr., CCC Vice Chairperson and Executive Director Robert E.A. Borje, CCC Commissioner Albert Dela Cruz, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Undersecretary Carlos Bernardo Abad Santos, DOF Undersecretary Alu Dorotan Tiuseco, DBM Undersecretary Leo Angelo Larcia, and Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) Executive Director Kristine Rosary E. Yuzon-Chaves.

Other members of the Board including representatives from the academe and scientific community, the business sector, and the non-government organization sector were also present at the event.

Barangay Health and Wellness (BHW) Party-list Representative Angelica Natasha Co also witnessed the ceremonial presentation.