As delivered in the House of Representatives (HOR) Committee Meeting on Climate Change on 08 February 2022. In the meeting, the House Committee on Climate Change, headed by Representative Edgar M. Chatto, tackled the following resolutions:
- R. No. 399 entitled, “Resolution…To Support Climate Advocates’ Key Points… (1) Climate Justice, (2) Urgency Of Climate Action, (3) System Change, (4) Defend Environmental Defenders, And (5) Youth-Led Collective Action,” authored by Rep. Sarah Jane I. Elago; and
- R. No. 418 entitled, “Resolution… Expressing The Sense… For Climate Justice, Strengthened Implementation Of Climate Change And Environmental Sustainability Laws In The Country And For Developed Countries To Deliver On Their Commitments,” authored by Rep. Edgar M. Chatto, Rep. Loren Legarda, et. al.
We thank the Committee and its chair, Representative Chatto, for inviting us once more to this important event. In the interest of time, we’d like to keep our remarks brief.
1. We convey our support for the resolution, because it is a vital signal to the bureaucracy. As the nation undergoes the democratic exercise of choosing new leaders to head the next administration, the bureaucracy cannot lose sight of the challenges imposed by climate change. As Rep. Legarda, the mother of so many climate-driven legislative initiatives and co-author of the resolution reminds us often, we have no time to lose and while we need a far longer horizon to comprehensively address this crisis, we also have to act now, not tomorrow, but today.
2. We also ask this august committee to lend its voice to the need to truly, seriously accelerate the country’s energy transition. As the report we’re releasing today will demonstrate, we predict an electricity shortfall across the Luzon grid this summer, in particular in the weeks leading up to and immediately after the coming elections this May. Our report challenges projections of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines that we will have sufficient power supply in the second quarter of 2022. As our senior policy advisor, Atty. Pedro Maniego, Jr. reminds us, “Unreliable electricity supply will undermine the credibility of the elections. We need our electrical power system to provide reliable supply especially during election day and while transmitting data; otherwise our political power system might fail if the results are not accepted by our people.
A huge part of the challenge is how to rapidly evolve our power system to flexible, distributed generation, and to move away from our current dependence on what has time and again proven to be intermittent, unreliable, expensive and energy insecure coal power.
3. Colleagues, we all know that Typhoon Odette, likely supercharged by warming seas, will not be the last extreme weather event to punish our country. It should remind us the country desperately needs responsive financing, in particular in the form of Climate and Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance (CDRFI).
An initiative such as CDRFI is best seen as a safety mechanism that vulnerable people can rely on pre- and post-disaster. If only insurance coverage was comprehensive enough in Odette-affected areas, money could have been easily disbursed instead of just reacting after the fact. It is true that insurance will require premium payments. But we also know with enough research and discussion on CDRFI, can tap premium and capital support from bigger pots of money such as those being facilitated by the InsuResilience Global Partnership, which the Philippines actually helped set up in its role as a leader of the V20 Group of Finance Ministers, among others. The private sector, with better policies and the effective governance coordination, will be able to roll out their own CDRFI-designed products.
CDRFI also provides us an opportunity to build on what we already have, instead of reinventing the wheel. ICSC itself plays a core role in the Multi-Actor Partnership that is guiding CDRFI as part of a global consortium that aims to provide an enabling environment for CDRFI – especially LGUs and the private sector, to flourish, market-wise, and to make such initiatives more accessible and affordable to those who need it the most.
The response to climate cannot be abstract and must not remain on the abstract level of political rhetoric. While climate justice is central to the work we do, climate justice is expressed most cogently when our people feel the interventions of government with respect to the climate crisis. This is why CDRFI is critical, because our people not just needs but expects direct support that is relevant to their needs.
As before, we continue to extend our support to honorable colleagues in this august chamber by working on a resolution that can demonstrate legislative support for the Climate and Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance initiative and the approach taken with multi-actor partnerships. As a forward looking measure that is responsive to great and growing needs on the ground, we hope this committee can extend its support for such a resolution as well.