By Isabella Mendoza
Naimbag nga rabii sa Benguet!
Good evening from Benguet!
Earlier today, the ICSC policy team in partnership with Benguet State University (BSU) and the Canadian Embassy launched the two-day orientation and workshop on the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) at the BSU campus in La Trinidad.
The PSF is a national fund meant to help communities adapt to climate change impacts. We aimed to orient local officials from the Cordillera region about the PSF and walk them through the process of making their proposal especially because the region is particularly vulnerable to climate change. In fact, Benguet province was declared one of the most vulnerable provinces to climate change a few years ago.
We began day one with an insightful tour of Benguet State University’s extensive initiatives on climate-smart agriculture. We visited their compost facility, their strawberry farm, and their new trading station for organic crops. In each of the sites, we were able to see innovations that for me provided some interesting examples of projects that can be considered under the PSF. The tour, followed by the words of encouragement from the BSU president, Benguet provincial administrator, and Canadian ambassador was a great opportunity to kick-start discussions and spark some ideas in the minds of the participants before heading into the nitty-gritty of the fund.
Thirty-four local officials representing 11 municipalities from Benguet Province and four from Mountain Province participated in today’s part of the workshop. Most if not all of them were already aware of the latest PSF updates and were eager to find out the secret to creating a good proposal for submission.
In my opinion, Day 1 was successful in immediately debunking of critical misconceptions and clarification of important facts. I also highly appreciated that the policy team encouraged the local government units (LGUs) to explore the possibilities of partnering with local academe and civil society as implementing partners for their project proposals. The evident interest of LGUs to access the fund, and the willingness of state universities and colleges like Benguet State University to work with them, sets a prime environment for communities moving forward.
We definitely had a good turnout today, a good start for Cordillera-based collaborations in pursuit of climate finance for adaptation. With hope and optimism, we and our local government partners will be moving into the writeshop proper tomorrow.