Thursday, November 18, 2010

Alvarez draws flak from climate body colleague for ‘lack of transparency’

Climate Change Commission (CCC) vice-chairperson Heherson Alvarez on Wednesday drew criticism from a fellow commissioner for supposedly making critical decisions for the body without consulting other members.

CCC member Lucille Sering openly hit Alvarez in a forum Thursday for his supposed “lack of transparency" in his dealings within the 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 from the delegation and punish us through your power of the purse," she told Alvarez in a national climate change dialogue held in Pasay City on Thursday.

Sering also criticized Alvarez for supposedly taking her inquiries about the CCC’s funds “out of context."

“Please don’t make it appear that I take our funds home and deposit them to my personal bank account," she told the official.

Alvarez, for his part, defended himself and said that all the commission’s transactions have been “very transparent."

“[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," he said.

Alvarez, who served as climate change adviser during the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, has been drawing flak during the past months for his supposed unilateral actions within the commission.

The climate change official was summoned at 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 supposedly occupied by the Philippine president — and making important decisions without consultations.

Palace to intervene in issue

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, who was present during the forum, said he will ask President Benigno Aquino III to intervene on the issue.

“We will help settle this leadership issue. It is difficult to make things work with all these," he said.

He also acknowledged the importance of climate change efforts in helping solve the various environmental problems currently besetting the country.

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

Abad likewise urged the more than a hundred civil society group members present during the dialogue to continue pushing for their climate change agenda in the present administration.

“Mahalaga na hindi lang nakalutang na mga programa ang mayroon para sa climate change. Dapat nakaugat ito sa iba pang programa ng pamahalaan. [It’s important that we have programs for climate change that aren’t just up in the air.] We can only do this with the help of civil society organizations," he said.

He also vowed to ask the President to create a “subcluster" in the Cabinet to tackle climate change mitigation efforts.


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