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Salceda lauds Yulo-Loyzaga appointment, hopes to see climate adaptation, disaster risk reduction, marine resource management, and science-based governance in natural resource governance

July 14th, 2022

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) has lauded the appointment of Environment Secretary Ma. Antonia “Toni” Yulo-Loyzaga, which was announced by the Palace yesterday. The House tax panel chair hopes that the Loyzaga appointment “will bring the principles of climate adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and science-centered governance in natural resource management.”

“Toni is a dear friend and my batchmate in Ateneo. We worked on so many DRR CCA projects making her a reliable friend of Albay esp after Reming and many other disasters. I am very deeply pleased and inspired by her appointment- another best and brightest moment for PBBM,” Salceda said.

“I would like to highlight Toni’s prior stints over the last decade as Executive Director of the Manila Observatory and Chairperson of its International Advisory Board as well as her time as technical adviser of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation where she effectively championed scientific research on climate and disaster resilience,” Salceda added.

Salceda says that he worked with Loyzaga “very closely when I was governor of Albay, delegate to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and as co-chair of the United Nations Green Climate Fund. She is the expert’s expert when it comes to climate adaptation and disaster resilience.”

Salceda added that “Yulo-Loyzaga is also part of the Philippine Armed Forces’ Senior Advisory Board at the Command and General Staff College and is a trustee for both the Ateneo de Manila and Ateneo de Naga Universities.”

Salceda to work with Loyzaga, Lotilla on carbon and energy policy

Salceda adds that he has already “sounded off with [Energy Secretary nominee] Popo (Raphael) Lotilla on our carbon policy moving forward, since both DENR and DOE should be very closely working together on this.”

“Upon the announcement of Toni’s appointment, I talked to Popo to see how we can work together on carbon policy, especially since SOF Ben [Diokno] has expressed openness to carbon taxation.”

“Offhand, I hope we can move forward given certain baselines: One, the Philippines has a right to cheap energy and a right to development, which I fought for during my time in the UN GCF and in the UNFCCC. Both Toni and Popo know my position very well there.”

“Second, our indigenous energy sources are almost entirely natural resources, so taxing carbon will almost certainly depend on whether we can mobilize our natural energy resources readily and efficiently. Otherwise, no alternatives to coal and oil will be viably available for us.”

“Third, Toni will handle mining issues, and I think our mining industry is critical to both the energy and industrial sectors, if we can find ways to encourage value-added here. Nickel and copper, which we have in abundance, are key resources for renewable energy technology. Bridging our mining and energy sectors could be very promising for cheap renewable energy.”

“These are critical points for our economic development, and Sec Toni’s appointment will be consequential.”

Salceda also proposed that the Climate Change Commission be placed under the DENR.

“Likewise, given Toni’s expertise, experience, and commitment to climate justice , I can see that the Climate Change Commission (CCC) can now fulfill its potential and the primary role it was envisioned, so I propose that the CCC be put where it belongs under DENR.”

Loyzaga appointment crucial for “blue economy” development

Salceda also said that Loyzaga’s appointment will be crucial for natural resource governance in the marine sector.

“The DENR Coastal and Marine Division basically proposes the policies and enforces ecological management of our marine resources.”

“How we harness our marine resources in a sustainable manner will be part of Sec. Toni’s role. Our plans for oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea and the Benham Rise, our fishing export and industry sector, our coastal and marine tourism, and our aquaculture sector will depend greatly on what Sec. Toni says and does about marine resources.”

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