Compiled by the Partnership for Clean Air, Inc.
Newsletter of the PARTNERSHIP FOR CLEAN AIR, INC. (PCA)
Philippines Country Network, 2011 Issue No. 5
~ Pacquiao backs climate change survival fund
~ People’s survival fund pushed to protect farmers from climate change’s impact
~ House body passes bill to fund climate change programs
~ Manila Bulletin: Sustained drive against smoke-belching urged
~ BusinessMirror: Manila is the most polluted city in the Philippines - study
~ Yahoo News: New study cites dangers of air pollution to commuters, drivers
~ PNA: Environmental groups urge LGUs to extinguish fires from open burning
~ Villar seeks support for nationwide bike lanes
~ Amid Middle East unrest, Angara: Green transport key to less oil dependence
• CLIMATE CHANGE
PACQUIAO BACKS CLIMATE CHANGE SURVIVAL FUND
Posted at 02/23/2011 10:13 PM | Updated as of 02/24/2011 8:21 AM
MANILA, Philippines – Boxing superstar and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao is among lawmakers in the House of Representatives and Senate who are supporting the creation of a climate change survival fund for local governments, a think-tank official said Wednesday.
The number of legislators co-authoring the People's Survival Fund (PSF) Bill has reached 71, according to Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities iCSC executive director Red Constantino.
He said the bill, which was filed as twin measures in the Senate and the Lower Chamber by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo "Erin" Tañada, seeks to provide committed funding to local governments to help them cope with worsening extreme climatic events.
"The Lower Chamber is heeding the clamor of governors, mayors and local government leaders who continue to convey in writing their call for the early passage of the PSF Bill. This is the kind of response communities need given the increasing magnitude of economic and social costs due to climate change-linked disasters," Constantino said.
The PSF bill has already passed first hearing in both chambers of Congress.
Under the bill, local governments can avail of programs such as the deployment of local agricultural meteorological capability and technology, livelihood and shelter support for communities threatened by rising seas, small water impounding projects and crop shifting support for areas facing anticipated extreme drought conditions, and anti-flooding measures.
Once the bill is passed, annual portions of proceeds from government-owned corporations and the Motor Vehicle Users Charge (MVUC) will be pooled in the climate change survival fund.
It will be managed by the Climate Change Commission, together with agencies such as the Department of Finance, the Department of Budget and Management, with representatives from the business and NGO sectors sitting as observers.
PEOPLE’S SURVIVAL FUND PUSHED TO PROTECT FARMERS FROM CLIMATE CHANGE’S IMPACT
CAGAYAN DE ORO City, Feb. 18, 2011—Among the vulnerable sectors to climate change in Philippine society the agriculture sector is the most defenseless and exposed, which is why farmers have joined the clamor for the immediate passage of the “Depensa” Bill or the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) Bill (H.B. 3528).
The PSF Bill is an important climate change mitigation measure that will strengthen the Climate Change Act of 2009 (RA 9729) and the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act of 2010 (RA 10121), both important measures that seek to protect communities from the impact of climate change.
Joselito Tambalo, president of Kalikasan NE and the Pambansang Samahan ng mga Magsasaka sa Likas-Kayang Pananakahan (SAKAHAN), said that the PSF is an important piece of legislation because it will fund programs, including agricultural programs, before disaster strikes.
But more importantly, PSF will help farmers get back on their feet once disaster brought about by the whims of climate change damages their crops.
“Makakatulong ang PSF sa mga magsasaka dahil ang mga probisyon nito ay siyang magbibigay nga mga programa sakaling ang mga pananim ng mga magsasaka ay masira dahilan sa climate change (The PSF is a big help to farmers because it will fund programs in case our crops are destroyed by climate change),” he said.
SAKAHAN is a federation of farmers for sustainable agriculture while KALIKASAN-NE, which was founded by 64 farmers, aims at developing sustainable rice-based organic agriculture through the provision of technical assistance, training of new members and making inputs such as chicken manure and rice seedlings available to farmers to help considerably reduce the production costs of rice while increasing the net income of farmers.
Elvira Baladad, council member of the Pambansang Konseho ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), said that aside from farmers, climate change also victimizes poor rural women, who in Philippine rural society bear the brunt of supporting their family.
“Ang mga kababaehan sa kanayunan ay naaapektuhan nga pagbabago-bago nga panahon. Dapat meron silang angklahan para ng sa ganun kung dumating man ito at sila ay maapektohan sila ay merong matatakbuhan upang kanilang maibangon ang kanilang dignidad bilang mga kanbabaehan sa kanauyan(Women are also victims of climate change and they need support during disasters. It will preserve their dignity and stature as women of the community),” she said.
HOUSE BODY PASSES BILL TO FUND CLIMATE CHANGE PROGRAMS
THE House Committee on Ecology has reported out for floor deliberation a bill identifying the alternative funding provisions for climate change adaptation programs for local government units and communities.
The proposed People’s Survival Fund (PSF) bill, to be known as the “Depensa bill”, was approved by the body which was presided over by Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento (1st District, Western Samar).
Sarmiento said representatives from different government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the academe who attended the public hearings have endorsed the passage of the bill.
House Bill 3628, principally authored by Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada, seeks to amend the Republic Act 9729 or the Climate Change Act of 2009.
Sarmiento said another source of funding the LGUs can avail of but has not taken advantage is the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, which addresses some concerns in relation to reducing the effects of disasters.
“In my home province, rainfall has become constant as a result of climate change and, as an adaptation measure, we are now planting pili and we can also take advantage of this by venturing into hydropower generation, for example,” Sarmiento said.
Sarmiento also cited the Department of Agriculture (DA) as among those agencies which could study changes in weather pattern, effect changes in its program, such as shifting of regular palay varieties to other varieties as an adaptation measure, and to educate farmers on the benefits of such programs.
“We are trying to strengthen the RA 9729 so that all concerns of LGUs will be addressed because, after all, all environmental laws like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Solid Waste Management Act which were passed by Congress have already been devolved to the LGUs,” Sarmiento said.
• AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT
MANILA BULLETIN: SUSTAINED DRIVE AGAINST SMOKE-BELCHING URGED
By: LEONARD D. POSTRADO
February 20, 2011, 4:46pm
MANILA, Philippines - A Manila councilor yesterday called on the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) to launch a concentrated and continuous campaign against smoke-belching in the city.
Councilor Rodolfo Lacsamana of the Second District said he had been alarmed by the recent report of the Congressional Commission on Science Technology, and Engineering (Comste), and a joint World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) study naming Manila as the most polluted city in the country.
In a resolution he filed before the Manila City Council, Lacsamana directed the MTPB to launch an sustained campaign against smoke-belchers. A copy of the resolution was furnished to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“In order to protect public health, reduce air pollution, give meaning to the Clean Air Act, the campaign against must be done with utmost vigor in the City of Manila,” the resolution said.
In the Asian Green City Index, commissioned by German firm Siemens and compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Manila scored "below average" along with Bengaluru and Mumbai in India and Hanoi in Vietnam.
At the top of the list, with the sole "well above average" mark, was Singapore, which was followed by "above average" Hong Kong, Osaka, Seoul, Taipei, Tokyo and Yokahama.
Rounding out the list were "average" Bangkok, Beijing, Delhi, Guangzhou, Jakarta, Kolkata, Kuala Lumpur, Nanjing, Shanghai, and Wuhan.
A similar study conducted by Congressional Commission on Science Technology, and Engineering (Comste), which was chaired by Senator Edgardo Angara, also cited Manila as the most polluted city in the Philippines.
BUSINESS MIRROR: MANILA IS THE MOST POLLUTED CITY IN THE PHILIPPINES – STUDY
BusinessMirror, Thursday, 10 February 2011 20:27
In the Imeldific plans of the Marcos-era Ministry of Human Settlements, Manila was “The City of Man.” Yet years of neglect and apathy have made it clear why the capital city, once Ground Zero for an ambitious—and partly successful, but for a change in leadership—massive redevelopment program by its former three-term mayor Lito Atienza, has been adjudged the most polluted place in the Philippines.
A recent study by the Congressional Commission on Science Technology, and Engineering (Comste) links the effects of air pollution and health in the Philippines, noting that lead exposure due to air pollution causes many diseases such as anemia, decreased fertility in females and kidney problems.
Senator Edgardo J. Angara, chairman of Comste, noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) identified Manila as the most polluted city in the Philippines. According to a joint World Bank and Asian Development Bank study of air pollution for 20 major Asian cities between 2000 and 2003, Manila is on the 8th spot.
According to the report, adults who are exposed to a hazardous amount of lead can experience such disorders like anemia, nervous system dysfunction, hypertension, kidney problems, decreased fertility and increased level of miscarriages (in females). Children exposed to low amounts of lead may show symptoms of neurologic damage, including slow development, reduced Intelligence Quotient (IQ) scores, learning disabilities, hearing loss, reduced height and hyperactivity. In very high and severe levels, comas, convulsions and even death can occur.
In an epidemiological study done by the College of Public Health in UP-Manila with support from WHO, Subida and Torres (1991) observed that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) signs and symptoms are more prevalent among jeepneys drivers (32.5 percent) than drivers of air-conditioned buses (16.4 percent) and public passengers (14.8 percent).
YAHOO NEWS: NEW STUDY CITES DANGERS OF AIR POLLUTION TO COMMUTERS, DRIVERS
By: Anna Valmero, loQal.ph
For Yahoo! Southeast Asia, February 21st, 2011
PASAY CITY, METRO MANILA — A recent study reveals that lead exposure due to air pollution causes anemia, kidney problems and infertility.
The study by the Congressional Commission on Science Technology, and Engineering (COMSTE) further said adults who are exposed to a hazardous amount of lead are also prone to nervous system dysfunction and increased level of miscarriages in females.
The study also found that even low amounts of lead exposure can result in neurologic damage to children, including slow development, reduced intelligence quotient (IQ) scores, learning disabilities, hearing loss, reduced height and hyperactivity (ADHD).
Comas, convulsions and even death can occur in very high levels.
In the country, signs and symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are most common among jeepney drivers, drivers of air-conditioned buses and commuters, according to another study by the College of Public Health at the University of the Philippines Manila.
COPD is characterized by chronic cough with phlegm, wheezing, shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing due to limited airflow into the lungs.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is another toxic substance from vehicles. Exposure at 100 parts per million or greater is fatal to human health as it causes cred blood cells absorb CO quicker than oxygen.
This can lead to tissue damage and even death. Common symptoms include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
For public transport drivers, the risk of abnormal pulmonary function is up to 50 percent due to emissions from 2.34 million registered Philippine vehicles in Metro Manila.
Earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) ranked Manila as the “most polluted city” in the country and the eighth “most polluted city in Asia” from 2000 and 2003.
• ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
PNA: ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS URGE LGUs TO EXTINGUISH FIRES FROM OPEN BURNING
MANILA, March 1 (PNA) -- Environmental groups have pressed local government units (LGUs) to seriously enforce the prohibition against open burning to conserve resources and curb toxic pollution.
EcoWaste Coalition and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) jointly push for the stringent implementation of the open burning ban under Republic Act No. 9003 and R.A. 8749 as the whole nation observes “Fire Prevention Month” this March.
"With public support, the LGUs can extinguish these often-ignored 'small' but similarly detrimental fires from the open burning of waste materials," the groups said.
Both R.A. 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, and R.A. 8749, the Clean Air Act, prohibit open burning of waste materials to address the decline of environmental quality, which directly impacts public health.
“Despite clear and explicit proscriptions under our foremost environmental laws, we still find open burning practised with impunity in both rural and urban areas,” said Roy Alvarez, president, EcoWaste Coalition.
“We see valuable resources, such as materials that can be re-used, recycled or composted, transformed into noxious fumes and ashes in disposal sites, farms, street corners, backyards and even in parks," he said.
On top of being wasteful, open burning produces a cocktail of health-damaging chemicals depending on what is burned.
The groups reiterated that R.A. 9003 and R.A. 8749 provide clear, adequate and strong basis for heightened LGU action against open burning.
VILLAR SEEKS SUPPORT FOR NATIONWIDE BIKE LANES
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. asked Saturday for congressional support for the passage of his bill which seeks to promote bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation in the face of the increasing price of fuel and fares.
Villar authored Senate Bill No. 2688 or the Bicycle Act of 2011 which seeks to provide a framework for a bicycle law on a national level. The bill states that all main roads and highways shall be provided with bicycle lanes or bike ways as identified by the Local Bikeways Office (LBO).
“Bicycle riding not only promotes health and leisure but also provides for an alternative solution to high fuel prices, increasing transport fares, traffic management, air and noise pollution and high cost of motorized vehic