LAOAG CITY – The provincial government of Ilocos Norte held yesterday, March 13, the first conference-workshop on climate change to formally kick-off Ilocos Norte’s climate change task force organized in line with Executive Order 149-13 signed by Governor Imee R. Marcos last February 27.
Marcos underlined the different “climate change disasters” that Ilocos Norte is prone to, like landslides, droughts, earthquakes, and flooding with the latter being associated to typhoons such as “Mina: which wrought damages to the province in 2011.
“More than one-third of the provincial budget for engineering and infrastructure is alloted to repair damages by climate change disasters when it could have been used for development,” Gov. Marcos said.
With the theme “Rise to the Challenge of Climate Change”, the conference-workshop gathered government officials and employees, and representatives from various sectors and agencies as it enjoined the different participating municipalities to formulate their own disaster management plans and climate change calendars that will chronologically take note of Ilocos Norte’s year-round localized adaptation activities.
“This exercise is based on the old Ilocano habit of preparing for the rainy season and not to wait for the government to come, search and rescue and give out emergency supplies,” Marcos said.
With the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) support, the task force plans to make its series of assessments on the impact of climate change, upcoming programs to ensure strict standards against environment degradation, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and its conduction of a province-wide awareness campaign on climate change issues.
With Provincial Administrator Atty. Windell D. Chua as the chairman, the task force is also composed of representatives from various Capitol offices and departments, National Irrigation Administration-Ilocos Norte, Philippine National Police-Ilocos Norte, PAG-ASA, Department of Education, Philippine Coast Guard, and the Research Development and Directorate of Mariano Marcos State University.
“This is the first effort to adapt and concretize what we know about climate change. To make it simplistic but operational so that we can act on it,” Marcos said.
In November 2012, PGIN started its innovations to further its climate change and disaster risk management.
Among its initial strategies was to partner with the Environment and Natural Resources Office on a greening program which employed 500 ‘Barangay Ranger Officers’ who successfully reforested 225 hectares in less than four months after its inception.
PGIN has also furthered its strides to become a renewable energy center as it broke ground a 20-megawatt solar farm in Currimao, Ilocos Norte last November 15, 2012. (With report from Grazielle Mae A. Sales, PGIN-CMO)