On December 11, 2013, key officials from national government agencies, LGUs, civil society, the academe, and the leagues of local governments came together for a whole day conference and general assembly held at the Le Salon I of Hyatt Hotel and Casino in Manila.
The 2013 General Assembly and National Conference on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management was organized by the Philippine Consortium on Good Local Governance (PCGLG) through the Local Government Development Foundation (LOGODEF) and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and in partnership with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
Guests and participants of the event were welcomed by League of Cities of the Philippines’ Deputy Director for Policy, Programs & Projects Ms. Yvette Yap. The conference program began with the first session on ‘Local Governments and Coping with Climate Change’ where Prof. Edmund Tayao, Executive Director of LOGODEF and Secretary General of PCGLG, presented a brief overview of the politics of climate change and the fundamental role of local governments. Since LOGODEF is currently embarking on a special project on climate change, Dr. Edwin Martin, LOGODEF’s contracted consultant, acquainted the members of the audience of the preliminary report on the ‘Assessment & Integration of Climate Change Preparations, Initiatives and Awareness of LGUs’ in which the island province of Camiguin is the pilot. The report mainly introduced the rationale, goals, and the procedure of the project as well as framework used in the analysis of the plans at the municipal level, the initial results, and the proposed paradigm of template for climate change intervention.
To further inject knowledge on climate change and DRRM efforts undertaken at the local level, representatives from the Municipality of La Trinidad in Benguet Province and the Province of Misamis Oriental shared their local experiences on the climate change-related challenges in the planning and implementation of local efforts. DRRM planners Yoshio Labi and Philip Esnara representing La Trinidad prepared a short presentation on their local efforts in responding to the effects of climate change. In terms of planning, Misamis Oriental Provincial Planning & Development Officer Stanley Uriarte shared the challenges and preparations carried out by the province in the planning of local activities in response to climate change and DRRM. The second session on the ‘Emerging Trends in Climate Change’ followed wherein a climate expert from the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Ms. Thelma Cinco, gave a very insightful discussion on the science behind the changing weather patterns and typhoons in the Philippines. Cinco’s presentation further emphasized the huge responsibility and capacity that LGUs must possess specifically in disaster response and climate change adaptation. Questions, comments, and clarifications from members of the audience were raised during the open forum.
The final session of the conference focused on ‘Climate Change and Policy Reform’ where a representative from the Emergency Rescue Network, Inc., Mr. Michael Melchor, showed pictures of the onslaught of the recent Typhoon Yolanda. Mr. Melchor shared his first-hand experience of the tales from Tacloban, particularly the gaps and shortfalls of both the national and local government in terms of response. Dr. Nestor Pilar, a faculty of the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP), also shared with the audience his presentation on the policy recommendations in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. After which, reaction and further recommendations were provided by the representatives of the local leagues: Mr. Roberto Limbago from the League of Provinces, Ms. Marisa Lerias from the League of Municipalities, Ms. Yvette Yap from the League of Cities, and Mr. Patricio de Quiros from the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines. This was followed by a short open forum discussing relevant questions and comments from the participants of the conference.
Prior to concluding the event, the Consortium elected its new officers for 2014: the League of Municipalities was voted as the Chair while the League of Cities was voted as Vice Chair. The same with the previous elections, LOGODEF was voted as the Secretary General of the Consortium.
As a form of acknowledging the unrelenting support and overwhelming efforts of the retired representatives of the Consortium, the PCGLG honored Atty. Monina Camacho, formerly with ULAP, and Mr. Alex Raoul Villano, formerly with LPP. On behalf of the Consortium, LOGODEF Executive Director Prof. Ed Tayao awarded each of them an Award of Distinction for their selfless and untiring support to PCGLG.