10 FEBRUARY 2021, Quezon City — Department of Finance (DOF) Assistant Secretary Paola Alvarez today pushed for the mainstreaming of sustainable finance in the Philippines, involving a whole of government approach and internationally harmonized finance initiatives.

“Even if we are doing so much in terms of policy to harness climate finance and to mitigate our disaster risk, we need to put forward on the international platform that the Philippines, a highly vulnerable country with only 0.3% of carbon emissions globally, actually needs international support for us to move forward,” she said in a virtual discussion organized by the Manila-based Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC).

The roundtable session, attended by representatives from national government agencies and civil society organizations, is in line with the launch of the Climate Finance Adaptation Study Report for the Philippines, which found that 37 percent of the USD 2.1 billion (PHP 105 billion) of adaptation finance for the country was considered over-reported.

“We value the importance of this study and we consider this very timely and relevant,” said ASec. Romell Cuenca, deputy executive director of the Climate Change Commission (CCC). He added that transparency mechanisms on climate finance are already ongoing development “to ensure that every peso is spent on our adaptation actions at the domestic level and when we say domestic this is both national and subnational.”

In response, House Committee on Climate Change Chairperson Edgar Chatto welcomes the fact that vulnerable provinces and municipalities have already been granted access to climate finance through the People’s Survival Fund (PSF).

Six PSF projects have been approved in the following areas as of March 2019: Gerona, Tarlac; Camotes Island, Cebu; Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte; Lanuza, Surigao del Sur; Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte; and Sarangani Province, while some proposals are already in the pipeline.

“We encourage the DOF as the PSF board chair to look into opportunities in linking international climate finance and PSF to further expand the country’s adaptation agenda. Should oversight functions prove inadequate, the House Committee on Climate Change under my watch is willing to draft specific laws that should govern climate finance accountability that should resolve climate adaptation or mitigation measures, responsive to the needs of every Filipino and will be felt by every Filipino,” he said.

Sara Jane Ahmed, finance advisor to the secretariat of the Vulnerable 20 Group of Ministers of Finance, stressed the importance of shifting the economic vision and sharing the burden amongst high emitting countries and climate vulnerable developing countries.

“We are already seeing this vision shift being led by the financial and economic manager of the Philippines, DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez, leading climate finance accountability access and implementation success in the country. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno and the Securities and Exchange Commission integrating climate finance in the finance sector and Congress will support this with legislation that supports the shift in the economic vision of a low carbon and climate resilient future,” she added.

Moving forward, ICSC deputy executive director Angelo Kairos Dela Cruz committed to contribute to tracking climate finance flows in the country, by validating the initial results of the study and releasing another report focused on international flows through adaptracker.org, which will be launched soon.

The toolkit on the Adaptation Finance Accountability Initiative (AFAI), a platform for tracking and monitoring climate finance flows used by ICSC since 2013, will also be re-launched with potential coordination with the DOF and CCC on how it can be implemented on the national level.

AC Dimatatac, media@icsc.ngo, +63 998 546 9788