Two climate change bills have been introduced in the Senate on climate change. The Loren Legarda SB (2583) and the Defensor-Santiago SB (3274) aim to establish a climate change commission. This commission will incorporate climate change climate change concepts in policy formulation, development plans in government. Both versions of the bill mandate a climate change action plan. The consoloidated version of the bill is on the President's table for signing. Because of the recent typhoon related disasters that have hit the country, the President is likely to sign the bill at the end of the month.
The bill is like any other similar bill that establishes a government agency under the Office of the President. Heads or representatives of lead agencies and departments of government are ex officio members of the commission. The commission has several offices under it and one of them is a research office.
While the aims of the bill is laudable, the effectiveness of the commission lies in getting the needed congressional appropriations. At the start the cash will come from the Palace but the commission will have to get its money from Congress. Also the provisions of having LGUs make their own climate change plans is good to read on paper but may be extremely difficult in practice. The reason is that LGUs under the local government act will have to source the money from their own revenues. Some LGUs are so cash strapped that they can't even fund their environmental departments effectively.
There is also a lack of climate change experts in the country that may hinder effective implementation of the act at all levels. The commission under the Defensor-Santiago version of the bill has the authority to seek external funding aside from congressional appropriations in order to support activities such as vulnerability assessment and mapping.
If Congress realizes the importance and magnitude of the climate change environmental issue, it will have to put a premium on appropriations for the commission.