(STAR) By Katherine Adraneda - The government’s global warming and climate change adviser Heherson Alvarez disclosed yesterday that President Arroyo would unveil a broader program for climate change called the Green Philippines Agenda in the final United Nations climate change talks in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Alvarez, who led the Philippine delegation to the series of climate negotiations, said that Mrs. Arroyo will call for broader and concrete programs against global warming as well as binding agreements in the final UN climate change talks in Copenhagen, as the government gave assurance it will continue to pursue its “deep and early cuts” position in the 12-day conference.

This development contradicts the claim of various non-government organizations that the President will likely backpedal from the Philippine government’s position.

“The deep and early cut position of the Philippine delegation was pushed mainly upon the instruction of President Arroyo because of our extreme vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. So that position has already been submitted to the UN and thus, could not anymore be withdrawn,” Alvarez told The STAR.

“In fact, what the President is expected to do in Copenhagen is to call for broader, concrete programs by nations to address climate change, as she also has hoped that binding agreements will be achieved in Copenhagen to ensure that the country will be protected from climate change. She has instructed us to work to achieve the forging of binding agreements,” he also said.

Alvarez reiterated the President’s statements that the Philippines is not a carbon emitter like the United States, but a carbon taker and the country is already experiencing the brunt of climate change.

He said that the President is expected to articulate the “green policies” of the Philippines, hoping that other nations, especially industrialized countries, would do their part in the global climate change battle.

Alvarez explained that the Green Philippines Agenda includes technology transfer and financing for both adaptation and mitigation programs.

“The Philippines will be embarking on a broad sustainability program for a climate resilient and low-carbon economy that will reduce our country’s carbon emissions voluntarily, and help our nation adapt to the onslaught of climate change disasters such as typhoons ‘Ondoy’ and ‘Pepeng’,” he stressed.

Alvarez said the carbon-reducing system, with focus on mitigation and adaptation, will build a climate change approach around legislation such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Fisheries Code, Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, Biofuels Act, Renewable Energy Act, and the Climate Change Act recently signed into law by the President.

These sustainable development programs would embrace carbon dioxide emission reduction from transport, power and industry, with the use of biofuels, energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy and a systematic garbage management with materials recovery facilities (MRFs) in every barangay to reduce methane, a lethal greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Pinoys still experiencing hunger, malnutrition  By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) Updated December 09, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Filipinos continue to suffer from hunger and malnutrition despite efforts of the Arroyo administration to reduce poverty, a latest government survey revealed yesterday.

A survey conducted by the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) showed that “the nutrition situation of Filipinos has not improved from 2005 to 2008.”

“There are more undernourished children and nutritionally at-risk pregnant and lactating women,” according to the FNRI survey released yesterday.

The survey covered the period 2005-2008.

From 2005 to 2008, there was a significant increase in the proportion of underweight (24.6 percent to 26.2 percent) and underheight (26.3 percent to 27.9 percent) preschoolers.

“The survey found that 3.3 million children are underweight and 3.5 million are underheight,” the FNRI said.

The number of underweight school children also rose from 16 percent in 2005 to 17 percent in 2008, while underheight school children increased from 32 percent to 33.1 percent.

It said about 2.8 million school children are underweight and 3.3 million are underheight.

Meanwhile, the survey also showed that among adolescents (aged 11 to 19 years old), the prevalence of underweight rose to 17 percent from 16 percent.

However, overweight decreased by 0.2 percentage points from 4.8 percent in 2005 to 4.6 percent in 2008.

Among the adults – aged 20 and above – there was a 2.6-point increase in the prevalence of overweight and obese adults, the FNRI said.

Meanwhile, the survey revealed that two out of 10 mothers and one out of 10 children experienced hunger in the past three months. Skipping or missing meals was the most frequent experience among food insecure mothers and children, it added.

It said three out of 10 mothers and two out of 10 children experienced food insecurity because there was no food to eat or no money to buy food.

“The food insecurity survey results are consistent with the results of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) hunger survey which showed an increase in the number of Filipinos who suffered from involuntary hunger,” said Maria Lourdes Vega, National Nutrition Council (NNC) Nutrition Officer V.

The latest SWS survey showed that families experiencing involuntary hunger at least once eased from 20.3 percent (estimated 3.7 million families) in June to 17.5 percent (an estimated 3.2 million families) in September.

She said the rise in hunger incidence was due to “uncontrolled factors” like the recent natural disasters.

“This means that we have to intensify our disaster response and mitigation program,” she said.

Vega said the government has included budgetary allocation for its Accelerated Hunger Mitigation Program in the proposed 2010 national budget.

The findings were part of the 7th National Nutrition Survey undertaken by the FNRI every five years.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the government would continue to help increase and stabilize the supply of rice and bring this staple to the poor.

“The government is sparing no effort to ensure that our supply of rice and other basic commodities reach the tables of every Filipino in all corners of the country,” he said in his speech before reporters in the media forum “Accelerated hunger mediation program” at the Manila Hotel.

He said the government has likewise used the schools through the Food for School Program to deliver rice to the poorest families through their schoolchildren.

“Our children must remain healthy and strong and fit to get the education that will ensure a better future for them and their families,” Duque said.

“We have empowered our people by providing access to vocational as well as college education. We have created more jobs and provided emergency employment for those who need these most,” he said.

Duque said the government has also provided billions of pesos worth of livelihood assistance to poor Filipinos.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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