Anchored on the theme, “Adaptation and Resiliency,” government line agencies, political leaders, development partners and concerned stakeholders all over Caraga Region graced the historic Climate Change Summit with their presence last August 27, 2022 at the Philippine Gateway Hotel Surigao.  

Climate Change Commissioner Albert de la Cruz articulated his sincerest congratulations to Gov. Robert Lyndon S. Barbers, openly expressing his strong commitment to support the approval of big-ticket, climate-sensitive plans, programs and actions of the province.

Consistent with the pertinent, relevant and salient provisions of the Local Government Code, national framework for climate change and Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction Act, Gov. Barbers stressed that ‘the provincial government has mainstreamed DRR, climate change adaptation and mitigation concerns in its developmental and thematic plans.’

In his response message, Gov. Barbers said that the ‘action plans and development framework plans are regularly updated to adapt to the ever-increasing challenges to ensure that new tools, technology and innovations are captured in PPAs for implementation.’

“Last year, our province, including that of our neighboring provinces in the region, was hit by Typhoon Odette. I am a living witness of its wrath and the devastation it left behind. It was an experience that anyone does not wish to happen again. However we all know, and if we are to learn from our history, typhoons will happen again, just like what happened in 1984 here in Surigao del Norte during Typhoon Nitang, among other typhoons that hit the country, after that,” explained the action-oriented and environment-friendly Governor.

Eight months after Typhoon Odette and barely two months into office, Gov. Barbers said that ‘he is fully committed to prioritize actions to protect the natural resources as well as the people to protect them against any hazard, whether natural or man-made.’

“As we continue to enhance and act swiftly, it is our plans that help us manage risks effectively and improve our physical position. Hence, I instructed the provincial team to make our budget climate-sensitive,” added the forward-looking Governor.

Climate-sensitive budget, according to Gov. Barbers, ‘is aimed at protecting assets to revitalize the local economy after every calamity and even after another pandemic.’

“It is important that we transition from relief to recovery as fast as we can so we will have to assess our affected constituency as much as we can. I would like to encourage investors, local and international to invest in our province, knowing that their businesses and assets will be protected,” asserted the dynamic Governor.

For this year, Gov. Barbers maintained that 71% of the provincial investment plan is climate-sensitive and ‘he is committed to sustain its percentage and even increase its responsiveness towards DRR-CCA for the next three years.’

“This is our initial contribution to the over-all commitment of the Philippine government to the international community. I’m proud that we are the first province to do so… We are calling our national government and international partners who have been supportive to look into our plans and see where we can improve our collaboration,” affirmed the smart-thinking Governor.

In the next month, Gov. Barbers said that ‘he will fast-track the repair of public infrastructure along the socio-economic intervention for the community’s recovery this year.

“This will definitely provide roughly 20,000 jobs to implement infrastructure projects this year and the next. Further is the retro-fitting of the Provincial DRR building that is ready to house again our PDRR team.. We will also incorporate renewable energy such as solar and wind for our government buildings. Our electricity is one of the highest in the country today and the use of renewable energy will result to at least 30% savings to electricity, which we can spend on other programs and projects which will directly benefit our people.

Most importantly, we will support the programs of DSWD and improve the prepositioning of goods before the onset of the typhoon, including availability of communication. We have already identified the areas to store relief goods,” clarified the best-performing Governor.

Meanwhile, Atty. Lucille Sering recognized the important role of the private sector in squarely addressing the formidable challenges brought about by global warming. She also highlighted the relevance of creating public awareness on the effects of climate change, underlining the significance of the 2015 Paris Agreement as well as the best practices that can be replicated by the province to protect vulnerable communities.

Atty. Victor Bernal, Provincial Board Member, also acknowledged the organizers on top of the Climate Change Commission for the unconditional and wholehearted support it extended to Surigao del Norte.

Commitment signing of the Pledge of Commitment for a Stronger Convergence Towards Climate Action, Resiliency and Sustainability capped the meaningful confab. (Glenn Platil) (Photo: PAUL P.G GANHINHIN)

Gov. Robert Lyndon Barbers receives a memento on ‘Climate Innovation’ from Commissioner Dela Cruz in the presence of Major Gen. Fernado Felipe of the Philippine Army
Gov. Robert Lyndon Barbers presents a Plaque of Appreciation to Climate Change Commissioner Dela Cruz