THE Board of the People’s Survival Fund (PSF), chaired by the Department of Finance (DOF), has approved five climate change adaptation projects endorsed by the Climate Change Commission (CCC) amounting to P540.3 million.
The approved projects were among seven proposed projects from the first batch of the PSF proposals recommended for approval by the CCC, according to Manila-based climate and energy policy group Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC).
These are projects for the Mountain Province; Maramag, Bukidnon; Catanauan, Quezon; Cabagan, Isabela; and Borongan, Eastern Samar.
One project for the Sadanga, Mountain Province, was deferred while one of the approved projects, Besao, Mountain Province, was recommended to access the Project Development Grant, a subfinancing window of the PSF.
Angelo Kairos T. dela Cruz, ICSC executive director and alternate NGO sector representative to the PSF Board, expressed through a statement his elation over the Board’s decision to approve the projects, saying these are pivotal in helping Filipino communities adapt to the escalating impacts of climate change.
However, Dela Cruz also expressed concern about the prioritization process employed by the PSF Board Secretariat in this approval cycle.
“Given the Fund’s mandate to reduce poverty in local government units, especially those from lower economic classes, the ICSC believes that it is imperative to question the thinking behind the prioritization of proposals from one first-class city, three first-class municipalities, and one province,” he said. “We highlighted this concern during the board meeting, underscoring the need for transparency, fairness, and equity in the selection and prioritization process.”
Over the years, most approved PSF leaned mostly towards infrastructure development as the more conventional approach.
The ICSC believes it is crucial for the Board to expand its assistance to LGUs by promoting and giving preference to proposals that prioritize alternative interventions, such as ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA), Dela Cruz explained.
“This shift can address the multifaceted challenges posed by climate change by implementing adaptation strategies with co-benefits to climate mitigation and disaster risk reduction (DRR),” he added. “By taking this approach, the PSF can assume a more proactive role in building resilience, protecting ecosystems, and promoting a more sustainable future.”
Still, Dela Cruz said the ICSC remains optimistic about the continued growth and positive impact of the PSF and hopes its concerns were heard by PSF board members. The ICSC also welcomed the new PSF Board Chair-designate Undersecretary Maria Luwalhati C. Dorotan Tiuseco, who the group said was exceptional in leading the discussions during the last board meeting.