DO YOU KNOW that our government has this budget called “People’s Survival Fund” (PSF)?
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.
With 61 percent of the country reeling from the El Niño phenomenon, barangays and non-governmental organizations could perhaps avail themselves of the PSF so they can put up functional rainwater collectors in their communities.
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.
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.
The PSF never runs out of money because it is guaranteed a replenishable balance of at least P1 billion every year under the law, 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 non-government organizations.
El Niño conditions are likely to worsen this April, with 61 percent of the country enduring drought and the other 39 percent undergoing 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.
While at this, we want to know how’s the execution of the 30-year-old Rainwater Collector and Springs Development Law, or Republic Act 6715. The largely unimplemented 1989 law requires the Department of Public Works and Highways to construct rainwater collectors in all barangays countrywide. This is another good law going to waste. Sad.