Study: Metro Manila 7th ‘most vulnerable’ to climate change

By Katharine Adraneda
Metro Manila was ranked seventh “most vulnerable” to climate change among provinces and districts in Southeast Asia.

This is based on a study made by an organization that supports training and research in environmental and resource economics.

Dr. Herminia Francisco, director of the Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA), and Dr. Arief Yusuf Anshory conducted the study.

“To assess the level of vulnerability of an area or a province, we compared each province or area to the others through a composite index,” Francisco said.

“We determined their ability to be resilient to climate change adaptation. We based our study on their exposure to climate hazards using information from historical records based on the assumption that past exposure is the best available proxy for future climatic risks.”

The study aims to help policy-makers and external donors in resource-allocation decisions on climate change initiatives in the region.

“We also based the study on their adaptive capacity, which include existing infrastructures, poverty situation, people’s income, literacy, inequality, life expectancy, as well as available technology,” Francisco said.

During the Philippine launch of the New Regional Climate Change Vulnerability Map for Southeast Asia in Makati yesterday, Francisco identified 13 other provinces in the Philippines as “climate hot spots.”

“This may not be a perfect map but we hope this would bring people together to come up with effective adaptation programs to climate change,” Francisco said.

“Climate change is here, it’s been happening. We just have to perhaps correct some adaptation behavior and teach communities on what must be done, as well as help policy-makers and donors in determining the direction of programs and funding efforts.”

The study covered 530 sub-national areas in seven countries.

It specifically covered 341 districts in Indonesia, 19 provinces in Cambodia, 17 provinces in Laos, 14 areas in Malaysia, 14 provinces in the Philippines, 72 provinces in Thailand, and 53 provinces in Vietnam.

A majority of provinces or areas in the study’s 10 most vulnerable to climate change are found in Indonesia, with Central Jakarta ranked as 1st; North Jakarta, 2nd; West Jakarta, 3rd; East Jakarta, 5th; South Jakarta, 8th; Kota Bandung, 9th; and Kota Surabaya, 10th.

Mondol Kiri and Rotanokiri in Cambodia were ranked 4th and 6th, respectively; while Metro Manila in the Philippines was ranked 7th.

The 13 other “climate hot spots” in the Philippines are the Cordillera Administrative Region, ranked 27th; Central Luzon, 30th; Cagayan Valley, 34th; Bicol, 36th; Ilocos, 40th; Southern Tagalog, 44th; Eastern Visayas, 60th; Northern Mindanao, 74th; Central Visayas, 86th; Western Mindanao, 87th; Western Visayas, 96th; Southern Mindanao, 103rd; and Central Mindanao, 105th.

The study, which includes a map showing all climate hot spots in Southeast Asia, was funded by the International Development Research Center (IRDC) of Canada.

14 areas ‘overfished’

At least 14 areas in nine regions nationwide are “overfished,” resulting in economic losses of about P6.25 billion a year, a recent government study revealed.

The National Stock Assessment of Marine Fisheries Resources was done by experts from the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) and Fisheries Improved for Sustainable Harvest (FISH) between 1998 and 2008.

The 10-year study showed that the most overfished areas were the Lingayen Gulf in the Ilocos Region, Davao Gulf, and Lagonoy Gulf in the Bicol Region.

Overfishing occurs when the ability of fish stocks to replenish is impaired because of massive commercial and local fishing.

“The marine fisheries of the Philippines are in a critical state because of overfishing,” the study said.

A fishing area is measured by experts through a ratio of fish caught and the number of fish killed due to natural causes.

The ideal values of such ratio are between 0.3 to 0.5, said Geronimo Silvestre of the FISH Project.

“A ratio that is higher than 0.5 indicates overfishing,” he said.

The study was conducted in partnership with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of the Department of Agriculture.

“Unless regulatory measures such as fishing gear restriction and fish size limit, closed seasons and law enforcement are effectively carried out, the country’s marine fisheries could be depleted,” the study said.

Results of the study were provided to The STAR by the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology.

The total catch of commercial and municipal fishers was estimated at l.74 million metric tons and valued at more than P65 billion, according to the study.

The NFRDI, an agency under the DA, was created under Republic Act 8550.

On the other hand, FISH is a project of the government and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

It aims to support the efforts of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and local government units to conserve biological biodiversity in the target areas.

The primary purpose of FISH is to conserve biological diversity in at least four biologically and economically important marine ecosystems in the Philippines, namely: the Calamianes Islands in Palawan, Danajon Reef in Bohol, and Tawi-Tawi and Surigao del Sur in Mindanao. – With Helen Flores

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