With 61 percent of the country, including Metro Manila, reeling from drought brought on by El Niño, Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. has urged barangays and non-governmental organizations (NGO) to avail of the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) for the construction of rainwater collectors in their communities.
“The PSF is a special annual fund in the National Treasury that provides subsidy to climate change adaptation and natural disaster resilience strategies, including the installation of practical rainwater harvesters,” Campos, a deputy minority leader, said.
The fund was established by law to supplement the yearly money set aside by national agencies as well as local governments for programs and projects meant to build up the capability of communities to cope with harsh weather conditions, according to Campos.
“We all have to get used to stockpiling rainwater during the wet season so that everybody can have access to extra freshwater supplies during dry conditions,” Campos said.
The PSF never runs out of money because it is guaranteed a replenishable balance of at least P1 billion every year under the law, Campos said, referring to Republic Act 10174, which reinforced the Climate Change Act of 2009.
The fund is administered by the People’s Survival Fund Board, composed of the heads of the Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, Department of the Interior and Local Government, National Economic and Development Authority and the Philippine Commission on Women, along with the vice chairperson of the Climate Change Commission, and one representative each from the scientific community, the business sector, and NGO.
El Niño conditions are likely to worsen this April, with 61 percent of the country enduring drought and the other 39 percent under a dry spell, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
The national weather and climate authority also warned that “most dams and lakes that supply drinking as well as irrigation water will likely experience way below normal rainfall conditions this April.”
PAGASA defines drought as three consecutive months of greater than 60 percent reduction from average rainfall, or five consecutive months of 21 to 60 percent reduction from average rainfall.
A dry spell means three consecutive months of 21 to 60 percent reduction from average rainfall, or two consecutive months of greater than 60 percent reduction from average rainfall.
Campos, meanwhile, backed calls for a congressional inquiry into the lackluster execution of the 30-year-old Rainwater Collector and Springs Development Law, or Republic Act 6715.
“We will introduce the resolution enabling the inquiry,” Campos said.
The largely unimplemented 1989 law requires the Department of Public Works and Highways to construct rainwater collectors in all barangays countrywide.