Pacman as climate change spokesperson?

Apart from being Philippines Tourism poster boy, a house leader who graced the launching of community-led initiatives for climate change adaptations and disaster risk reduction initiatives here on Thursday, wanted the People’s Champ as climate change spokesperson, too.

When asked during open forum here on what mechanisms, initiatives the government is doing so that climate change drive will be fully understood by the people in the grassroots, Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Taňada III said the government is considering the Saranggani representative as climate change spokesperson or poster boy or whatever that fits the Filipino boxing hero.

Taňada explained that the Saranggani province solon being widely popular not only among Filipinos but also globally is an ideal spokesperson in the nationwide drive for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction community-led initiatives.

House Committee Chairman on Environment First District Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco Tinio Matugas (LP) said he also supports Taňada’s plan to make their fellow congressman as official spokesperson in the climate change campaign saying with Rep. Pacquiao in the forefront of a very important campaign, “it will automatically draw needed mass support among Filipinos for the initiative.

“I heard Rep. Pacquiao is also an environmentalist by heart when, during election campaign, he made environmental protection as one of his priority programs, so he is best suited for the task,” Matugas added.

Indigenous People’s Tribal Community leaders, Manobo Datu Bonanat and Bae Merlin Tagleong, who are into tree planting and forest conservation projects in their Agusan de Sur ancestral lands, confirmed that the Saranggani solon is a staunch supporter of greening projects of NGO Rewarding Planet.

NGO Rewarding Planets is helping Manobo tribes under the Tagleong clan in Lapaz, Agusan del Sur on reforestation and tree planting efforts.

The two Manobo tribal leaders claimed they met Rep. Pacquiao many times in General Santos City and in Manila saying “in all of conversations we had with Congressman Manny, we were surprised of his enthusiasm about forest conservation and environmental protection,” the two added.

But the two tribal leaders admitted there must be continued nurturing of Pacman about current environmental issues, saying it might not be a priority of the people that surrounded and influenced the eight-time World Boxing Champ daily.

Deputy House Speaker Tanada, on the other hand, assured Mindanao local officials who attended the launching of the community-led initiatives for Climate Change adaptation at the Philippine Gateway Hotel and Convention Center here Thursday that the proposed P2-billion People’s Survival Fund (PSF) bill will be passed into law by 2012.

Taňada, who was the guest speaker at the launching, said Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has already assured full support for the passage of the bill by 2012. Enrile is the principal author of the PSF bill’s Senate version.

Enrile was supposed to attend the November 18 climate change activity, but an emergency meeting at Malacañang forced the Senate President to cancel his trip here.

In his prepared speech read at the launching, Enrile said the passing of PSF bill will be his legacy.
“What I do now for climate change adaptations and disaster risk reduction will be my legacy because I may not see the fruits of it that will benefit the future generations,” he said.

Under the House and Senate PSF bill, the government will allot P2 billion a year to fund all climate change programs, including disaster risk reduction initiatives.

The PSF seeks to establish a fund dedicated to vulnerable local governments and communities struggling to adapt with the rapidly changing climate.

During the launching ceremony, non-government organizations, environmental groups, local government units, and national government officials expressed full support in the launching of a community-driven campaign for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction dubbed “Depensa.”

Surigao del Norte Gov. Sol Folcadilla Matugas, Siargao Island Rep. Francisco Matugas, Surigao del Norte Rep. Guillermo Romarate Jr., provincial board members and municipal mayors and other government officials from Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur and Sultan Kudarat said that as a show of support to the initiatives, they are ready to pass resolutions declaring full support for “Depensa.” (Ben Serrano/usnewslasvegas/original story here)

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