Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga has underscored the importance of following the “prevention more than response” approach in dealing with climate change.

Loyzaga presented this approach during the September 2 deliberations of the House of Representatives on the DENR’s proposed P23.04-billion budget for 2023.

According to her, the ideal combination to address the impact of climate change comes from highlighting green nature-based solutions with grey infrastructure solutions.

She also said that extreme weather events will cause different impacts on the different services of our landscape and in our forests. What the DENR is doing now is actually valuing and inventorying the services that the forest covers. For example, forests provide ecosystem services in terms of preventing soil erosion that could lead to the siltation of our rivers and waterways. As such, forests eventually prevent flooding.

Loyzaga also said that if there is adequate ground and forest cover, floods can be prevented.

With the help of the Department of Agriculture and Department of the Interior and Local Government, Loyzaga also pointed out that there are plans to converge the different resources that are available in each national government agency to address the impacts of climate change both on the national and local level.

Meanwhile, DENR Undersecretary for Finance, Information Systems and Climate Change Analiza Rebuelta-Teh said that the “budget of the DENR is largely intended to support the climate actions of the government.”

“Out of the P15 billion that we have for operations, around P7 billion is intended to support climate action mainly on sustainably managing natural resources, clean and healthy environment, and a sustained natural resiliency program,” Rebuelta-Teh said.

The DENR is also planning to work with the Department of Education to incorporate climate and disaster risk reduction education into the basic education school curriculum.

According to the DENR chief, the agency needs to build a strategic communication and education program for all the different stakeholders, including the youth.

The main agenda of the DENR under the helm of Loyzaga is to work together with other national government agencies to implement climate adaptation and mitigation, which is also in line with the climate agenda of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Likewise, the priority thrusts and directions of the DENR include adopting a climate risk lens in national planning and policy making. ###