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Submitted by Hannah Roa on

Climate change, as pointed out in the report, is a global crisis, and the Philippines is among the most vulnerable countries to it. However, the report’s results also show that the national Government of the Philippines has not fully prioritized preparing for climate change. I know that in order to successfully deal with climate change, everyone, whether great or small, has to help out. However, how can we expect the common people to organize themselves into dealing with climate change, when the Government itself is showing signs of major disorganization? The answer, we can’t. Which is why most of what I am about to say has to do with flaws in higher places.
I believe that the government is a little too soft or ‘lenient’ in implementing policies regarding climate change. The report said that a major hindrance is that some Local Government Units (LGUs) do not fully cooperate with the Government’s plans/policies for climate change. But instead of waiting/asking for their support, the Government should just give them an ultimatum: ‘All LGUs must support the national Government and its policies regarding climate change, and LGUs that do not comply will be disabled (unless they can state valid reasons).’ This way, everyone will be made to see the urgency of our situation.
One of the ways the Government has decided to ‘deal’ with climate change is by creating more and more national institutions to ‘deal’ with it. Effectively, the Government is passing on the responsibility of dealing with climate change to these other organizations. And sadly, even these organizations are not too sure of what they are doing; the report clearly states that there are overlapping responsibilities, action plans, and policies, especially between the CCA and the DDRM, and because of this, coordination between the two organizations is hindered. Having more organizations does not necessarily mean a greater chance of solving the problem, as pointed out, a lot of the organizations are principally doing the same thing. Why not just merge similar organizations to remove conflicts regarding responsibilities and duties? This makes for a more united front for dealing with climate change, and also saves time in coordination and communications because there is no need to have to formally address another organization, pass through all of the formalities, and then finally state the main message to the recipient.
Another clear sign of disorganization is the lack of united standardization. According to the report, existing Monitoring & Evaluating (M&E) systems do not all follow the same standards. Different M&Es have different ways of reporting and collecting data, this makes comparing data unnecessarily more difficult. Instead, the Government should clearly define what all M&Es are purposed to do and exactly what data is to be collected, doing so generates a sense of uniformity among all M&E systems and will guide them in gathering useful data. Another example of lack of united standardization is that there are development plans that are only partially aligned with climate reform efforts thereby reducing their effectiveness. The Government should not allow the passing of any development plans that are not fully in sync with plans for climate reform; it should be stricter, once again showing people how dire our situation is.
Another major flaw highlighted in the report is the incompetence of most employees working in these national institutions that deal with climate change. It was made clear that most employees were clueless about climate policies, financing, and institutions, this is probably due to a lack of proper training. And on top of that, the report’s findings indicate that the employees do not have accessible ways of gaining more knowledge, so they remain insufficiently informed or trained. To fix this, the institutions should properly orient their employees, giving them the information necessary for them to work competently. And in case they have questions, the institutions should have enough capable staff on hand to answer them.
And lastly, the Government should strike a balance between remedying current losses and preparing to mitigate future ones. The report highlights the fact that regarding damages caused by climate change, the Government has dedicated more funds to fixing damages already caused by flooding and other climate-change-related disasters compared to funds for preparing for the future. There is nothing wrong with that in itself; after all, it is a completely necessary step. But as the popular saying goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure.’ By preparing for the future, we greatly reduce the potential deaths, and save the Philippines from massive costs in damages.
I am not saying that this is all the national Government’s fault. After all, the above adjustments and suggestions are easier said than done, all I am saying is that there are other, more efficient ways to deal with climate change. And hopefully, under the Government’s lead, we will be able to amply prepare for the inevitable.