THE HOUSE Committee on Climate Change will tap public and private sector experts to help enhance proposed laws aimed at creating a more green Philippine economy and protect sectors most vulnerable to climate change.   

Negros Oriental Rep. Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong, vice chair of the committee, said via e-mail that there are pending measures in Congress that can help address the impact of climate change.  

One of these is the Sustainable Forest Management Act that seeks to delineate the boundary limits of forest lands and protect them from further denudation,Ms. Limkaichong said.  

Another pending measure seeks to strengthen the existing Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act to expand the coverage of prohibited activities and impose stiffer penalties for violations,she said.  

Ms. Limkaichong also cited a bill that will establish carbon trade and credits that will encourage the private sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions using economic rewards and incentives.  

Another pending bill proposes a National Coastal Greenbelt Program to promote beach forest protection, mangrove rehabilitation, and sustainable management.”  

She also cited a bill that will declare the Philippine Rise, previously referred to as Benham Rise as a protected area, home to millions of hectares of coral reefs and fish stocks. (This) is long overdue with rising cases of overfishing and pollution.”  

“​​While the Department of Finance and the Commission on Climate Change have done a lot of initiatives in terms of climate financing, theres still so much to be done,the solon said.  

Ms. Limkaichong said that Congress has a large role to play in terms of creating the policy framework to protect marine and coastal systems, reducing carbon footprint, and promoting both green and blue economies through regulation, financing, and incentives.  

Since the Philippines is an archipelago and an agricultural country when typhoons come, there’s a lot of impact on our economy,she added.  

The World Bank last week said the impact of climate change would likely slash the Philippinesgross domestic product by as much as 13.6% by 2040 if no action is done by the government and private sector.  

In 2021, hazards brought by climate change caused P506.1 billion in losses and damages, according to the Finance department.   

Every year, the Philippines is visited by around 20 tropical cyclones, some of which have become stronger in recent years and affecting areas that were historically considered as typhoon-free.   

Bohol Rep. Edgar M. Chatto, the committee chair on Climate Change, said the bills in place must be assessed in close coordination with the executive department especially with agencies such as the National Economic and Development Authorityand private sector expertsto ensure that the policies are science-based 

This tact acknowledges not only the whole of government approach but more inclusively, it recognizes the importance of the private sector most especially the experts in providing the science in policy proposals,he said.  

Mr. Chatto said the private sector has experts who can help the government in terms of managing the risks and impact of climate change. Kyanna Angela Bulan