President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo created a commission called the Presidential Task Force on Climate Change by virtue of Republic Act No. 9729, which is also known as the Climate Change Act of 2009. Under the law, the Chief Executive chairs the commission, just one of only a few bodies headed by the highest official of the land.
Noticeably President Aquino, to this day, has not convened the commission even once. The country can ill afford his lack of interest in this matter, especially now that climate change is causing calamities at the most unexpected times and places, such as the December 2011 typhoon floods brought by Tropical Storm “Sendong” in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City, and the 2012 Typhoon “Pablo” that devastated parts of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.
President Arroyo foresaw that the changing climate conditions would have a myriad impact and underscored the vulnerabilities of society and the economy. Hence she pushed for a law that gives the commission wide-ranging authority to coordinate government agencies with the general goal of building the country’s capacity to adapt to climate change, enhancing the resiliency of its natural ecosystem, and optimizing its mitigation capability.
It is tragic that Mr. Aquino has not given any attention to the commission. Does he even know that such a commission exists? The commission should be fully utilized to avoid further devastation in the future.
If only Mr. Aquino did his job in leading the commission, the damages wrought by Sendong and Pablo would have been minimized. After the fact, all he has done is call for investigation. The investigation should also look into why he has not convened the Task Force on Climate Change since he assumed the presidency.