I Made Sure The 2010 Agriculture Budget is a Climate Change-friendly Budget – LORENMarch 5, 2010
ASKED WHAT SHE THOUGHT ABOUT PGMA’S DISTRIBUTION OF FARM INPUTS AND IRRIGATION EQUIPMENT IN RESPONSE TO EL NINO, SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA, SENATE CHAIR OF THE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE SAID, “I MADE SURE THAT THE 2010 BUDGET IS CLIMATE-CHANGE RESPONSIVE. THEN DA SECRETARY ARTHUR YAP AND NEWLY APPOINTED SECRETARY BERNIE FONDEVILLA—KNOWING MY CHIEF CONCERN AFTER ONDOY AND PEPENG DEVASTATED OUR FARMS AND FISHFARMS—PROPOSED TO ME A BUDGET WHICH WOULD ENSURE WE WOULD HAVE SOMETHING TO BAIL OUR FARMERS AND FISHERFOLK OUT IN THE EVENT THAT SIMILAR DISASTERS WOULD OCCUR,” LOREN SAID.
“You can dig up the records of the Senate Sub-Committee on Finance last year and find that 75% of the 4-hour budget hearing was spent for my inquiries on how the proposed 2010 budget would solve the problems of climate change. Moreover, last year, we, in the Senate, approved a PhP12-billion Calamity Fund from the Unprogrammed Fund for 2009. PhP4.9 billion of that was supposed to be for the rehabilitation of the damaged agriculture facilities and farm inputs aid to our farmers and fisherfolk who lost their incomes heavily due to Ondoy and Pepeng. However, that Calamity Fund was not distributed last year”, Loren said.
The President approved for 2010 a budget of PhP39.2 billion for the Department of Agriculture and PhP1.6 billion for DA owned and controlled corporations. “I told the DA to ensure that its research and development programs and projects should focus on studies that would generate drought-tolerant and flood-resistant crops. I called for trainings of local extension workers in the local government on climate-change mitigation and adaptation so that they could teach the farmers and fisher folk to prepare for El Nino or La Nina and other natural calamities that would affect our farms and fish farms. This time as you probably observe all over the Philippines, our DA-Agriculture Training Institute is busy conducting Climate Change seminars for the LGUs”, Loren, who is also the chair of the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization (COCAFM) said. The Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997 or AFMA, which was passed into law in 1997, provides that “The Department of Agriculture, in coordination with the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA) and other appropriate government agencies, shall devise a method of regularly monitoring and considering the effect of global climate change, weather disturbances, and annual productivity cycles for the purpose of forecasting and formulating agriculture and fisheries production programs. “