Thursday, November 18, 2010

Abad: Palace to tackle leadership crisis in climate body

A senior palace official promised to request President Benigno Aquino III's intervention in the long-simmering leadership crisis at the Climate Change Commission (CCC) following a colleague's criticism of vice-chairperson Heherson Alvarez at a dialogue Wednesday.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, who represented the palace at the forum, made the promise after climate commissioner Lucille Sering openly criticized Alvarez for “lack of transparency" in making decisions within the three-member commission.

“You’re not transparent. You don’t tell us what’s going on. If we do something contrary to your plans, you’ll take us out of the delegation and punish us through your power of the purse," Sering told Alvarez during the national climate change dialogue held in Pasay City.

Alvarez denied the charges, saying “[Those] are incorrect. All transactions in this commission have been done transparently. I have not acted unilaterally on decisions. We just need to define functions in the commission."

After listening to the exchange, Abad said: “We will help settle this leadership issue. It is difficult to make things work with all these (problems)."

Abad said he would ask President Aquino to create a sub-cluster in the Cabinet that would take care of climate change mitigation efforts, which could help solve the various environmental problems in the country.

“There is a place in the President’s priorities for these environmental efforts," Abad said.

Climate loans

During the forum, Sering castigated Alvarez for supposedly taking her inquiries about the CCC’s funds “out of context." She added, “Please don’t make it appear that I take our funds home and deposit them to my personal bank account."

Alvarez, who was appointed as climate adviser by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during the previous administration, has been drawing flak recently for his supposed unilateral actions within the commission.

The climate change official was summoned to the Senate last month after Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile learned that the country incurred loans for climate mitigation.

He has also been widely criticized for allegedly taking over the CCC’s chairmanship — a position occupied by the Philippine president — and making important decisions without consultations. The climate body has three appointed commissioners, each serving a six-year term.

Abad urged the estimated 100 members of civil society groups that attended the dialogue to continue pushing their climate change agenda during the Aquino administration.

“Mahalaga na hindi lang nakalutang na mga programa ang mayroon para sa climate change. Dapat nakaugat ito sa iba pang programa ng pamahalaan. We can only do this with the help of civil society organizations," he said.


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