Aiming to institutionalize, strengthen, and sustain Climate Change (CC) adaptation and mitigation programs, projects, and activities; the municipality of La Trinidad, Benguet is working on an ordinance that will encourage the barangays, non-government organizations (NGOs) and people’s groups to address climate change in the context of sustainable development.
“Climate change is an alarming global problem and the country is highly vulnerable to climate risks and weather disturbances such as tropical cyclones and prolonged droughts. This fact made me propose the ordinance,” stated Municipal Councilor Roderick C. Awingan, author of the proposed ordinance.
Thus, according to him, there is a need to unite the efforts of individuals, institutions, and the Local Government Unit (LGU) of La Trinidad to address this life threatening phenomenon among defenseless communities.
The proposed ordinance shall be known as “The Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Ordinance of the Municipality of La Trinidad, Benguet”. It is created based on R.A No. 9729, popularly known as “The Climate Change Act of 2009”, a national law which was primarily designed as the country’s response to the worldwide phenomenon.
The Section 4 of the proposed ordinance discussed the various climate change adaptation and mitigation programs, projects, and activities of La Trinidad once the ordinance is approved.
The municipality will establish and institutionalize incentives and awards system to encourage the implementation of plans and programs by barangays, non-government organizations and people’s organizations.
Air pollution mitigation measures will similarly be enforced to attain a gradual, acceptable, and consistent program of eliminating smoke belching vehicles. To support this, the municipality is planning to conduct an air pollution monitoring and analysis, purchase air pollution monitoring instruments, and render regular air pollution advisory. For its attainment, there will be a partnership with Land Transportation Office (LTO) and gas emission centers to be able to determine the pollution status of the valley.
Moreover, Awingan stated that the municipality will lead the enhancement of the implementation and maintenance of the Urban Greening Program of sidewalks, center islands, vacant lots, parks and other spaces of the commercial areas.
In addition, the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO) and Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMCO) will spearhead a continuous Information and Education Programs on climate change. The municipality will as well sign an agreement with the District Office of the Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) or Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to include climate change topics in the school curriculum.
“If it will be included in the school lectures, then the pupils in the elementary level or the unaware students would know the do’s and don’ts and the causes and effects of climate change. Everyone will further know that all of us are not just part of the problem, but also of the solution,” expressed Mirabel Suligan, a resident of Barangay Cruz, La Trinidad.
To add, the Arbor Day (Tree Day), Earth Day, Balili River Day and International Forest Day will also be institutionalized in order to support the activities on Climate Change adaptation and mitigation. Written in the document of the proposal is also reaching wider areas and greater population through the publication and distribution of Information and Education Campaign (IEC) materials.
Furthermore, the municipality will study the probability of renewable energy sources and other clean development mechanisms as recommended by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
In coordination with DOST and DENR, a strategic development program will also be formulated such as solar power energy, mini hydro power plant, geothermal plant, wind farm, methane harvesting facility, and others.
“La Trinidad will further fortify the current ordinances which seek the protection, preservation, and conservation of the La Trinidad communal forests. We will likewise continue to promote Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and organic agriculture which will be coupled with regular assemblies and forums on climate change,” added Awingan.
Upon approval of the proposed ordinance, there will also be an installation of Rainwater Harvesting System at the Municipal Hall Complex and Barangay Hall buildings to be used for urinals and toilets of public comfort rooms and for other cleaning and gardening purposes. Lastly, as written in the proposal, the municipality in coordination with BENECO will lead a wide advocacy on energy conservation.
Serving as a basis for the implementation of other programs, projects, and activities on climate change adaptation and mitigation, the proposal’s local council will promulgate a La Trinidad Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Ten Year Action Plan.
The proposed ordinance passed its 1st reading and its second reading started on May 17 this year for it to be permitted for the 3rd and final reading.
According to the councilor, the proposed ordinance is sure to be approved since climate change is a vital issue that should be addressed immediately.
“I hope that the ordinance will be approved as soon as possible. Climate change has greatly affected as a farmer, just like lack of water and extreme heat,” shared Maria Canaway, a farmer at Balili, La Trinidad. // Sharmaine P. Chocowen