Climate crisis threatens PH recovery—Dominguez

Published December 9, 2020, 1:44 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

Climate-related challenges remain formidable threats to the Philippines’ gradual recovery from the prolonged coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

Speaking at a virtual World Bank forum, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III acknowledged the urgency of implementing stronger adaptation measures to help Filipinos survive and thrive amid the climate crisis.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Following the eruption of Taal volcano in January and the powerful storms that struck one after the other in November, Dominguez highlighted that the government should explore innovate ways to protect its financial health against future climate crises and other adversities.

“We are aware that more of these climate-related challenges will come, as they are symptoms of a long-term crisis that we have yet to address,” Dominguez admitted during the World Bank-hosted forum.

As 2020 threw a harsh light on the Philippines’ vulnerabilities to climate crisis, Dominguez noted that this difficult year steeled the government’s determination to proactively manage risks and make the communities more resilient.

He said the Philippines will work with the World Bank to strengthen its fiscal sustainability against climate crisis.

The finance chief said the World Bank has been a “staunch partner of the Philippines in all of its disaster response efforts” by providing access to appropriate financing products, like the first-ever Insurance-Linked Security or Catastrophe bond issued last year. 

The World Bank is also currently supporting the Philippines through its third Disaster Risk Management Policy Loan, which is a  financing package that aims to strengthen the country’s capacity to prepare, respond, and recover from natural disasters.

“We look forward to a strengthened partnership with the World Bank as we boost our competitiveness and financial sustainability while enhancing resiliency,” Dominguez said. 

He said that as the Philippines shifts to a more sustainable economy, other nations should also perform their respective roles in mitigating, and, if possible, reversing  the effects of the climate emergency. 

“Protecting communities in climate-vulnerable countries like the Philippines must become a global effort. Our present challenges are previews of what other countries will face if the climate crisis worsens,” Dominguez said.  

“If the international community beats back the climate emergency in frontline countries like the Philippines, we are more likely to succeed in adapting to this global challenge elsewhere,” he added.