Almost three decades have passed but the phrase “global warming and climate change” still has to create real significance in the minds of the Filipino majority.
Climate Change Commissioner Vice Chairperson Lucille Sering noted this in her talk in August last year during a seminar on “Building Critical Mass Awareness of Climate Change – engaging Media, Advertising and Entertainment Sectors”. While some Filipinos had been affected by the catastrophic impact of adverse weather conditions due to climate change, a portion of the Philippine population still failed to fully understand climate change (http://www.eco-business.com/news/climate-change-philippines-biggest-awareness-campaign/).
This concern is being addressed by the Philippine Information Agency which has embarked into massive information and education campaign on climate change. Together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), it endeavors to shake the consciousness of every Filipino to understand and to prepare for the adverse impact of climate change on the lives of their families.
PIA Davao Region has been into this drive since 2010 and it even pushes disaster preparedness at the household level. But this year, PIA Davao Region has leveled up its efforts to make global warming and climate change, a buzz word of adaptation and a push button for preparedness of every Dabawenyo household.
In tie-up with DENR, this year PIA Davao Region started off its grassroots climate change information drive with local government information officers and with information officers of key national government agencies at the provincial level. It conducted the Orientation/ Briefing on Climate Change for Government Information Officers from June 19 to 21 in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
The event presented an opportune time for Retired Brig. General Loreto Rirao, regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) XI to discuss “The Role of Information Officers in the Incident Command System”.
The information officers took a side trip to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) of Compostela Valley where they were briefed on “Communication and Information System of Comval PDRRMC”. The Davao del Norte PDDRMO also took time discussing with them the Oplan ANDAM (Advocacy on Natural Disaster Awareness and Management)-- the key disaster risk reduction management program of the provincial government.
On August 05, local chief executives and local chief representatives in the Davao Region signed a pledge of commitment to advance the advocacy on climate change adaptation and mitigation. Attending the Public Advocacy on Climate Change for Local Chief Executives, they signed the “LakasLikasan Pledge of Local Chief Executives” which stated their vow of commitment to go an extra mile of safeguarding the environment. The signing of the pledge wrapped up the one-day forum on climate change for LCEs organized by the Regional Task Force on Public Advocacy on Climate Change and held at the Social Hall of the University of Southern Philippines (USEP) Bo. Obrero Campus, Davao City.
The Task Force is spearheaded by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) XI, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) XI and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) XI. Among its members are the regional offices of the departments of Agriculture, Health, Interior and Local Government, Science and Technology, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) XI and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) XI.
On August 13, PIA XI further waged its climate change information and education campaign to one of the most vulnerable sectors--- the Indigenous Peoples (IPs). It forged a strategic partnership with the municipal government of Sto. Tomas which at that time, was celebrating its 55th year founding anniversary.
More than 250 IPs from the communities of Ata-Manobo, Mansaka, Dibabawon and those resettling from Agusan attended the Climate Change Orientation/Briefing which formed a major part of the Indigenous People’s Day that the municipal government lined up as part of the town’s 55th Founding Anniversary celebration.
PIA XI Regional Director Efren Elbanbuena deemed it fitting to hold a discussion on climate change with IPs noting that most of their communities were found vulnerable to disaster due to their locations. A research paper entitled “Indigenous People’s and Climate Change Adaption in Asia” published by the Asia Indigenous People’s Pact (AIPP) in 2012 noted that IP communities were usually residing either in low-lying areas, high mountainous areas, flood plains or in temperate forest zones at risk of “climatic uncertainties and unpredictability” of extreme weather conditions such as cyclones, floods and prolonged droughts.
On top of this situation, most members IP communities can be considered lacking of critical mass awareness on climate change because they live in far-flung communities that can hardly be reached either by traditional or modern means of communication.
Same with the LCEs, leaders who attended the Briefing/Orientation on Climate Change also signed a commitment to help agencies of the government spread awareness on the adverse impact of climate change. They also vowed to stay true to their commitment to nourish the environment.
The PIA Davao Region will continue taking strides to bring down to the community and even at the household levels, its information drive on climate change. It strives to make people fully understand climate change, moving them to prepare for the adverse impact of the new normal weather conditions. (Jeanevive Duron-Abangan, PIA Davao Region)