The Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation, and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM-DRR), chaired by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), has recognized the significant progress made towards a more climate resilient Philippines under the leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

During the “Duterte Legacy Summit: The Final Report to the People” on May 30, CCAM-DRR chair and DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said the President has made great strides in institutionalizing the centrality of environment to the country’s development.

“The Duterte administration espoused that a healthy environment is the foundation for economic and social development,” said Sampulna, stressing the Duterte presidency has remained on track with its “Climate Action Pathway,” as a strategy to “enhance resilience and adaptive capacity of the ecosystems and vulnerable communities.”

The DENR chief also mentioned the “impossible” clean up of Manila Bay and the six-month rehabilitation of Boracay Island as two of the administration’s major achievements that define President Duterte’s legacy on environment and climate governance to “foster a sustainable future for every Filipino.”

“Our government has shown real resilience, great concern for the environment, for the people,” Sampulna said.

He said that this highlighted how President Duterte has positioned his administration to take significant progressive actions on climate change and disaster resiliency with the creation of the Task Force Build Back Better (TFBBB) by virtue of Executive Order No. 120 to strengthen the climate resilience capacities of communities vulnerable to disasters and climate hazards, especially in Cagayan Valley, Bicol Region, and Marikina River Basin.

“Phase 1 of dredging in the Magapit Narrows, Cagayan, and Marikina River had been completed, while the removal of critical sandbars restricting the water flows of the Cagayan, Marikina, and Bicol Rivers is ongoing,” Sampulna pointed out.

His report was capped with a testimonial from Beverly Calud, a Marikina resident.

Calud attested to the marked absence of devastating floods along the Marikina River, which she attributed to the TFBBB’s dredging and widening of the river and watershed rehabilitation along the riverbanks and the Upper Marikina River Basin.

The TFBBB’s initiatives were done using a whole-of-government approach supported by the operation of a strengthened quick response mechanism to give immediate relief assistance to indigents living in hazard-prone areas and victims of typhoons and earthquakes nationwide.

“Emergency Operations Centers in 17 regional offices and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center were established as command-and-control points for emergency operations and activities,” Sampulna said.


The aspect deemed most salient in the report was the Duterte administration’s commitment to clean energy which has resulted in the ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, impose a moratorium on coal power projects, and advocate for the phase-down of unabated coal power and end of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies during the 26th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“Renewable energy and a low carbon public transport system were actively promoted, especially with the recent passage of Republic Act 11697 or the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act. Proper solid waste management and alternative climate-resilient livelihoods were bolstered to relieve pressure on the environment and biodiversity,” Sampulna said.

He also emphasized the administration’s efforts to push for responsible mining for sustainable development with the completion of the first and second phases of the mining audit, covering 43 large-scale surface metallic mining companies.

“An estimated P2.7 billion were also committed to environmental programs, on top of the 8.1 million seedlings and reforestation of 6,600 hectares of mined-out and other areas for the Mining Forest Program,” Sampulna said.

He added that P407.6 million of the Social Development Management Program of mining companies were realigned to support the affected impact and non-impact communities during the pandemic. ###