Councilor Bagonoc and her Climate Change Resolution

note: This article was submitted to Atty. Elpedio Peria as the writer's reaction paper in his SDS 204 (Environmental Laws, Policies and Ethics) subject.

Photo from SP GenSan

   Climate Change was the main topic of Hon. Elizabeth B. Bagonoc in her Privilege Speech during the 12th Regular Session of the 17th Sangguniang Panlungsod last September 24, 2013 in General Santos City. 

   In her speech, she discussed the adverse effect of climate change in the world. Like the sea ice is disappearing faster than expected, water supplies are increasingly at risk from extreme climate events (such as droughts and floods), and disasters have become deadlier. She also cited that the Philippines is considered as one of the most disaster prone countries in the world. She also presented the flood prone barangays in GenSan. She also asserted that this is now the right time for the Local Government Unit of General Santos City to demonstrate its deep commitment to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. At the later part of her speech, she filed three resolutions: 1) for the conduct a SOCSARGEN CLIMATE CHANGE SUMMIT, 2) for the CREATION OF THE TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP ON CLIMATE CHANGE, 3) for expression of strong SUPPORT TO “RECLAIM POWER: GLOBAL MONTH ACTION ON ENERGY”.

   If you dissect her resolution, you may ask lots of questions. Is her resolution will hinder economic growth in the region? Is it for compliance in international agreements for climate change mitigation or just an ostentatious display for political advancement? With the negotiations, actions and implementations done by our government in mitigating climate change, you cannot help but be skeptical. 

   The overlapping of laws and polices cast doubt over the government’s determination to adapt and mitigate climate change. For example, the government puts an effort to combat deforestation and destruction of our ecosystem yet the Mining Act of 1995 promotes the large-scale mining. Our government makes policies without really analyzing its impact in our country. Moreover, it contributes to the confusion of the public. Despite the effort of our government, some of us still don’t have idea about climate change. 

   This is challenge for our local policy makers on how this resolution will be implemented. It should put into consideration the livelihood of its constituents, economic and social development, adequate energy, infrastructure and proper education campaign about climate change.

   If her resolution will be approved, I hope that the Technical Working Group (TWG) on Climate Change will be more open to the public. What I mean is that it should have proper dissemination of information with regards to policy making and education campaign. It should cover not only in urban areas but also in rural areas. I hope their information dissemination would reach all levels – students, professionals, government officials, businessmen or even to the ordinary citizens. The TWG should not be that intimidating to the public. It should not block an ordinary citizen to raise his/her concern with regards to the environment. TWG should institutionalize a consultative mechanism for accountability and transparency to prevent "random and selective participation". 

   It should have also a good collaboration with different sectors. Various agencies can be tap to help solve this problem, for example, the Academe for technical knowledge; NGOs for training and capacity building; private institutions for financial support. The solution to building a climate-resilient nation lies in a foundation of good governance, the people’s sovereign control over their natural resources, and the rights of nations to genuine development. 

   Councilor Bagonoc’s resolution is a good initiative for the city. It is a good investment for GenSan because climate change has a direct and immediate impact on development. Through this initiative, the city will be prepared in the upcoming disasters. I hope this good action will not be politicize and use for political advancement.

   Climate Change is not a new issue. It becomes an overrated topic that is still debatable up to this time. Everyone knows it and its impact on this planet. The question remains on how the people should respond to this phenomenon. Are we going to wait for its effects to happen? Or are we going to find the solutions to lessen its impact on this planet? The solution lies on us.

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
Thank you.