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Putting Filipino farmers first

October 4, 2016

A brief history of the Philippine cooperative movement

The concept of a cooperative is not too foreign for Filipinos. The spirit of bayanihan (loosely ‘a sense of shared community’) is deeply embedded in psyche of early Filipino communities even before the first set of Spanish colonizers arrived in the mid-16th century. Similar to other developing countries in the region, the first Philippine cooperatives were primarily agricultural in nature. This is the reason why the evolution of cooperatives in the Philippines also highlights the plight of small Filipino farmers in the past centuries.



Cooperatives are formed to reduce cost of production, provide alternative source of capital and credit, and build up knowledge and skills for the mutual benefit of small-scale farmers. At its most basic, cooperatives offer these small farmers the advantage of economies of scale (Thapa, 2014).

As a “business model with a social conscience,” various literatures have already shown how cooperatives were able to reduce poverty, generate jobs, and promote social cohesion in developing countries, including the Philippines (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO], 2012). In fact, cooperatives provided employment to about 260,000 Filipinos in 2013 and contributed about 4.9 percent to the country’s gross domestic product. Moreover, the total volume of business for registered cooperatives in the country reached PHP 437.6 billion (around USD 9.75 billion) in 2013 (Terosa, 2014).

The gradual metamorphosis of cooperatives in the country can be broadly divided into three periods. The first period describes the early attempts by Europe-educated Filipino thinkers and the introduction of state-initiated cooperatives by the Americans. The second period covers the country’s involvement in World War II and the resulting post-war rehabilitation efforts until the declaration of Martial Law in the 1970s. Finally, the last (and current) period highlights the emergence of cooperatives as an influential sector in the country’s flourishing civil society.


Building rural roots
Dr. Jose Rizal, the country’s national hero, is said to initiate one of the country’s earliest forms of cooperatives. While studying in Europe in the 1880s, Rizal published two novels highly critical of the Spanish regime in the Philippines. Upon his return to the country, he was charged with treason and jailed in the southern Philippines. While in exile, he initiated a cooperative among hemp producers partly inspired by the cooperative movements he witnessed during his stay in Europe. Other Filipino nationalists followed suit, including Emilio Jacinto, who established a commercial marketing cooperative in 1898, and Isabelo de los Reyes, who established the first Philippine labor federation in 1902. While anchored on the ideals of social justice and economic development, these early cooperatives eventually lost momentum due to the onset of the Filipinos’ revolt against the Spanish rule and the subsequent American occupation in the late 1890s (Machima & Prakash, 1987; Sibal, 2001).

In 1906, the Corporation Law was enacted, which provided the first legal basis for cooperatives in the Philippines. A year after, the Rural Cooperative Bill, aimed at developing agricultural cooperatives in the country, was introduced in the Congress. This bill was drafted by Governor Teodoro Sandiko, who came across and learned about the Raiffeisen cooperative movement during his travels to Europe. Although initially disapproved, the bill was finally enacted in 1915 as the Rural Credit Cooperative Association Act, providing small farmers more access to agricultural credit. The country’s first rural credit cooperative and consumer cooperative were both established a year after. About a decade later, the Cooperative Marketing Law was passed in 1927 paving the way for the formation of state-initiated farmers’ marketing cooperatives, which provided farmers collateral-free loans and assisted them in effectively marketing their produce. However, these cooperatives eventually failed due to farmers’ lack of interest and appreciation on the benefits of forming cooperatives (Jarmin, 1996; Machima & Prakash, 1987).


Bringing coops together
During World War II, most cooperatives in the country understandably ceased operations, while others focused on the distribution of relief goods. Consumers and producers cooperatives established during the Japanese occupation were dissolved after the country regained independence in 1946. The following decades then saw the resurgence of state-initiated farmers’ cooperatives.

In 1952, the Congress passed Republic Act (RA) 821 establishing the Agricultural Credit and Cooperative Financing Administration (ACCFA) responsible for organizing and supporting Farmer’s Cooperative Marketing Associations (FACOMAs). Significant amount was allocated to support small farmers, including loans to finance facilities for production, storage, processing, and marketing. However, rampant corruption, mismanagement, and increasing number of unpaid loans hampered the further growth of agricultural cooperatives in the country (Jarmin, 1996; Machima & Prakash, 1987).

In 1957, the government began to recognize cooperatives for non-agriculture sectors, including those for electric, housing, and water services. In 1969, the Philippine Agrarian Reform Code was enacted establishing cooperatives as the primary channel for agrarian reform initiatives (Sibal, 2001).

The declaration of Martial Law in the 1970s gave way to the implementation of the intensive land reform program championed by then President Ferdinand Marcos. Small farmers were forced to join village-level farmer’s group called Samahang Nayon (SN) and form full-fledged cooperatives called Kilusang Bayan (KB). These SNs were then encouraged to form area marketing cooperatives (AMCs) to receive loans from cooperative rural banks (CRBs) and have access to farm inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, machines, etc. These initiatives eventually faltered due to weak links among SNs, KBs, and AMCs, as well as lack of financial support and corruption in CRBs. Furthermore, most of those who benefited were the rural elites and land owners, marginalizing the small-scale farmers who should have been the main beneficiaries of these reform initiatives (Jarmin, 1996; Ricablanca, 1985).


Bridging the gap
The 1990s welcomed major milestones in the proliferation of cooperatives in the country, including the ratification of the Cooperative Code of the Philippines and the establishment of the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA). The Philippine Cooperative Code of 1990 (RA 6938) outlines the national strategy in supporting cooperative development in the country with the CDA as the key government agency mandated to ensure implementation.

The rapid increase in civil society’s role in post-Martial Law years also affected the ensuing growth of Filipino cooperatives. In 1998, the Coop National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) earned a seat in the Congress after receiving significant votes from the national partylist election. Maintaining its Congress seat in the succeeding elections, NATCCO was given a platform to put forward policies and programs strengthening the country’s cooperative sector (Sibal, 2001; Romulo-Puyat, 2012).

In 2008, the Cooperative Code of the Philippines was amended to address recent challenges faced by Philippine cooperatives and scale up its operations to better contribute to the country’s economic growth. In essence, the updated law seeks to create a more conducive environment for the growth and development of cooperatives and encourage stronger partnership with the private sector (Philippine Cooperative Code, 2008).

The Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008 (RA 9520) provides an updated definition for a cooperative describing it as “an autonomous and duly registered association of persons, with a common bond of interest, who have voluntarily joined together to achieve their social, economic, and cultural needs and aspirations by making equitable contributions to the capital required, patronizing their products and services, and accepting a fair share of the risks and benefits of the undertaking in accordance with universally accepted cooperative principles.”

RA 9520 (2008) also identified the various types of cooperatives currently operating in the country. Among the major categories include credit, consumers, producers, marketing, service, and multi-purpose. According to 2011 CDA estimates, more than half of registered cooperatives in the country are multi-purpose cooperatives, distantly followed by credit and service cooperatives. Other types of cooperatives identified in the Philippine Cooperative Code (2008) include advocacy, agrarian reform, cooperative bank, dairy, education, electric, financial service, fishermen, health services, housing, insurance, transport, water service, and workers cooperatives.


Bracing for a bright future
At present, the CDA spearheads the implementation of the Philippine Cooperative Medium-term Development Plan (PCMDP) 2011–2016, which complements the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011–2016. Formulated by National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the PDP 2011–2016 outlines the government’s national development targets, as well as its priority policies and programs, set to be achieved by 2016. In summary, the PCMDP 2011–2016 targets to build effective legal framework and supervisory oversight for cooperatives, which eventually contributes towards a more resilient and inclusive financial sector (NEDA, 2011).

Despite its dynamic transformation over the last two centuries, Philippine cooperatives continue to face various challenges. Most strikingly, there is a surplus of small and weakly-organized cooperatives in the country, as well as a limited access to formal or informal fund sources. Furthermore, low agricultural productivity and income, which affects most developing countries, result to the small farmers’ inability to repay loans. This may also lead to an increase in farmer’s burgeoning debt (Romulo-Puyat, 2012; Thapa, 2014).

The Philippine experience shows the need to build the capacity and strengthen interaction, especially among small farmer cooperatives. This would usher in more access to support services, such as markets, technologies, as well as training and extension. Effective governance and policy environment are also key to successful cooperatives.


Cooperative Development Authority (CDA). (2012). CDA Annual Report 2011. Quezon City, Philippines: CDA.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). (2012). Agricultural cooperatives: Key to feeding the world. Rome: FAO.

Jarmin, M. R. (1996). Philippines. In Asian Productivity Organization (APO), Agricultural cooperatives in Asia and the Pacific (223–233). Tokyo: APO.

Machima, P., and Prakash, D. (1987). Cooperatives for development of the rural poor. Dhaka: Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). (2011). Philippine Development Plan 2011–2016. Pasig City, Philippines: NEDA. Accessed 11 March 2015, from

Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008, Republic Act No. 9520, 14th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines. (2008). Accessed 11 March 2015, from

Ricablanca, P. M. (1985). A study on the pilot Samahang Nayon covered by the Regional Cooperatives Development Program for Cagayan Valley in Region 2, Philippines (Unpublished master’s thesis). Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand.

Romulo-Puyat, B. (2012). Country statement on Philippine cooperatives. Paper presented at the 9th Asia-Pacific Co-operative Ministers’ Conference, Bangkok, Thailand. Accessed 11 March 2015, from

Sibal, J. V. (2001). A century of the Philippine cooperative movement. Wisconsin, USA: University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives. Accessed 11 March 2015, from

Terosa, C. L. (2014). The contribution of cooperatives to the national economy: The case of MASS-SPECC Member-Cooperatives. Paper presented at the 2014 MASS-SPECC Cooperative General Assembly, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. Accessed 11 March 2015, from

Thapa, G. B. (2014). The role of cooperatives and farmers’ groups in agricultural development [Powerpoint presentation]. Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand.

Faces and Phases of Chiang Mai

June 7, 2016

A laid-back town rich with history and nestled below the dense valleys of northern Thailand. What’s not to love about Chiang Mai? Once the center of the powerful Lanna kingdom, Chiang Mai boasts a number of temples seemingly untouched for centuries and rival other major archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. The surrounding rainforests also adds to the city’s charm.

01Wat Ton Kwen

08Novices of Doi Suthep

Wat Suandok

22.jpgWat Phra Singh

Wat Chedi Luang

Wat Chedi Liam

More photos here.

Faces and Phases of Siem Reap

May 27, 2016

The silhouette of the Angkor Wat outlined by the picturesque sunrise—there’s no other reason why millions visit the city of Siem Reap and the majestic temples of Angkor.

These thousand-year-old structures, which seamlessly blend with the surrounding forests, are popular for a reason. Hundreds of visitors, with their necks craned and cameras in hand, will fight for the best spots. As charming as these temples may be, the scorching sun and the hordes of tourists—half of them awestruck and the rest just plain rowdy—may easily overwhelm even the most experienced travelers.

Once you’ve got your fill of Angkorian temples, rent a bike, try the local Khmer delicacies in the Old Market, or visit small yet equally appealing temples in downtown Siem Reap.

Part of the Thought Catalog entry on “Five Cardinal Rules for the Solo Traveler“.

Aside from our innate fear of the dark, the prime reason why we love watching the sun rise is because we all yearn for that familiar warmth—that reassuring embrace—reminding us that we’ve still got the time to make things right.

Vesak in Angkor Wat

Faces of Bayon

Towering trees of Ta Prohm.

Preah Khan Temple.

More photos here.

Faces and Phases of Chiang Rai

January 29, 2016

With the temperature dipping as low as 7°C, going to Chiang Rai during the country’s coldest days in decades was probably not the brightest idea. But the famed Thai winter is often the number one reason why most people visit Thailand’s northernmost province.

The province is among the most ethnically-diverse regions in the country with hill tribes inhabiting the lush Indochina mountains. The mighty Mekong river basin also passes through these fertile valleys marking the shared borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. This area—also called the Golden Triangle—is notoriously known as the center of opium trade in the region over the past decades.

Another must-visit in the city is the obscure yet visually stunning Wat Rong Khun, popularly known as the White Temple, just a few kilometers south of the city center.

Wat Rong Khun

Wat Khua Khrae Muang

Baan Dam

Wat Phra Singh

Golden Triangle, the shared borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar.

More pictures here.


December 31, 2015

#gradschoolproblems perfectly sums up how my 2015 went by as this was the year I finished my coursework and started working on my ~beloved~ thesis.

Looking back, the only thing that really stuck to me this past year—aside from the glistening limestone islands of Halong Bay and the sea of yellow and green from Lopburi’s sunflower fields—was the obscene amount of coffee I’ve consumed writing papers and reviewing for exams.

Grad school got me pretty much preoccupied this year that most of my posts essentially captured the frustrations, fears, and fulfillment most grad students feel as well as the constant struggle on keeping our sanity intact. Yes, the struggle is real.

As this year comes to an end, here’s a rundown of some of my favorite posts this year. May the new year be as memorable and fruitful. As Nate Ruess puts it: “If you’re lost and alone or you’re sinking like a stone, carry on. May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground, carry on.”

Bracing up for an awesome 2016!


Words to live by in 2015: Underpromise, overdeliver.

Sweaty palms and the restless calm.
Secret glances and those missed chances.
Mind games waiting to be played.
Those three damn words no one dare to say.

Commodification of the highest highs and senseless sighs.
Thornless stalks and flowery talks.
Unspoken truths and silent promises.
Deafening whispers and sugar-coated curses.

Drowning myself with bottles of liquid courage.
Just enough to heave one clear message.
Picking the right letters to complete the sentence:
‘Come, be a witness to my existence.’

Heart momentarily skipping.
I’m just but a person feeling feelings.
All the risks I’m willing to take.
So please be my next mistake.

You know it’s midterms week when you have obscene amount of caffeine and a tall stack of readings as dinner. ‪#‎onedaymore‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Onism (n.): the awareness of how little of the world you’ll experience.

Arguably one of the best vids in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows web series! Other favorites: nodus tollens, sonder, zenosyne, kenopsia, and socha.

You know it is the finals week when you start running solely on coffee and deadlines. It all starts perfectly as you begin to write a to-do list planning your every waking minute. You consider doing an outline as a warm up for a week’s worth of hardcore crossfit for the brain. Then, it all goes downhill from there.

You start looking for a new font to use on your outline, research on the proper word usage of ‘towards/toward’ and ‘effectiveness/efficacy/efficiency’, and purposively search for articles on why people procrastinate. Then, you decide to take a ‘power nap’ which involves using Facebook for hours cyberstalking random campus crushes, secretly hating other friends and their summer vacation photos, and getting stressed by posts on Nepal, Veloso, and Pacquiao.

You wake up around 2AM and question whether having coffee at that hour is acceptable. You panic and start writing random stuff like this. You wake up the next day, jog around campus while waiting for your laundry to finish, and then have a full bowl of academic guilt and a cup of scalding and bitter truth as your breakfast.

I was once told that grad school is like Hunger Games. You are told how privileged you are to be there yet you can’t remember why you volunteered as a tribute. ‪#‎gradschoolproblems‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

You know you’ve been in Thailand long enough when night markets become your go-to place to grab dinner under THB100.

Thesis guilt (noun): that nagging uneasiness you feel every time you decide to do ‘less important’ stuff rather than scanning related journal articles or revising your theoretical framework.

It is also that consuming feeling of guilt every time you think of doing even the most mundane non-thesis-related activities, such as catching up on your movies and TV series backlog, doing your laundry, going out for some drinks, taking a shower, or even sleeping. ‪#‎gradschoolproblems‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Dear Bangkok, I know we have a love-hate relationship but this past year has truly been amazing.

The library may not be the most ideal place to celebrate anniversaries but I need to stay here today because I do not intend to celebrate our second anniv stuck here writing my thesis. I promise I’ll make it up to you this weekend.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Vicious cycle of literature review: Spending the entire day reading a pile of journal articles and related lit then end up writing just two sentences as summary. ‪#‎gradschoolproblems‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Dear 27-year-olds, take it easy. No one has it all figured out. Signed, a 28-year-old.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Life lessons from the field: How to get away from barking dogs and how to politely say no when someone invites you for lambanog.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Words to live by in 2016: Live life, love life.

That thumping beat on your left chest? That’s called purpose.

Transforming Tha Luang

September 2, 2015


This report, the Development Plan for Tha Luang District, describes the current development status of Tha Luang District in Lopburi Province and aims to provide recommendations to local authorities and other relevant organizations for future district development planning.

The report summarizes the current situation, problems, potentials, and needs for the following key sectors: (a) natural resources and environment; (b) agriculture; (c) non-agriculture covering industries, trade and commerce, and tourism; (d) infrastructure; and (e) social sectors including public health, education, and local governance. Additionally, project proposals were developed, which are expected to contribute in the further development of the district.

This report was prepared by students of the Rural-Regional Planning Workshop course from January to May 2015 under the Regional and Rural Development Planning (RRDP) master’s and doctoral programs at the Asian Institute of Technology.

Lopburi is one of Thailand’s oldest provinces and once served as a hub for key kingdoms of the region. The province became an important seat of civilization for influential Southeast Asian empires including the Khmer and Ayutthaya regimes. Formerly known as La-Wo or Lavo, the province is strategically located on the east side of the mighty Chao Phraya River in the central plains of Thailand.

In the late 1600s, King Narai—arguably the most influential king in the province’s history—declared Lopburi as the second capital of the country. He established and fostered a strong trade relationship with France and other Western countries, which led to the rapid development of the province. At present, Lopburi Province is famous for the hundreds of monkeys roaming around its city streets and the sea of yellow and green from the large sunflower fields.

Tha Luang District was initially established on 15 November 1978 when the subdistricts (tambons) of Kaeng Phak Kut, Nong Phak Waen, Sap Champa, and Tha Luang were split off from Chai Badan District. On 26 May 1989, Tha Luang received its full district status. The district is subdivided into six tambons, namely: Hua Lam, Kaeng Phak Kut, Nong Phak Waen, Sap Champa, Tha Luang, and Thale Wang Wat. These subdistricts are further subdivided into 45 villages. At present, there are five Tambon Administrative Organizations (TAOs) in the district.

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Counting the costs of the changing climate

July 30, 2015

A brief look on climate finance in the Philippines

Thousands of Filipino families are still reeling from the devastating impacts of Super Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the central Philippines almost two years ago. Tagged as the strongest storm to ever hit land, this natural calamity killed almost 6,300 people and has displaced millions of climate refugees (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 2014). The storm’s aftermath has highlighted the increasing threats faced by countries, such as the Philippines, from the damaging effects of the rapidly changing global climate.


A family gathers around a grave of a relative that was killed when Typhoon Haiyan struck their home in Leyte (Photo Credit: Getty Images).


According to the GermanWatch, the Philippines was the most disaster-affected country in 2013 (Kreft, Eckstein, Junghans, Kerestan, & Hagen, 2014). Aside from strong tropical storms, the Philippines is also considered a major hotspot for other climate-related hazards, such as landslides, floods, and droughts, largely due to the country’s location and general topography. Extreme weather patterns due to climate change pose a serious threat to millions of Filipinos as an overwhelming majority of country’s population heavily rely on climate-sensitive sectors, including agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.

These issues—alongside exponential population growth, rapid urbanization, and unsustainable use of natural resources, among others—further increases the country’s vulnerability to the effects of climate change. Aside from these, World Bank (2013) estimates that the Philippines contributes about 0.3 percent of the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and this may likely increase due to heavy industrialization and prevalence of carbon-inefficient practices. While the country’s GHG emissions may be relatively small compared to other countries, there is still an imperative need to build the country’s capacity to respond and mitigate these climate change risks.


Laying a solid foundation

Since the late 2000s, the Philippine government has put in place several legal frameworks and implementing mechanisms to scale up local climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives. Among these was the Republic Act (RA) 9729 or the Climate Change Act of 2009, mainstreaming climate change in national plans and policies. This landmark legislation also established the Climate Change Commission (CCC) to oversee its effective implementation. Through the CCC, the National Framework Strategy on Climate Change (NFSCC) was adopted in 2010, outlining the specific targets in building climate-resilient communities. Other key strategies were adopted thereafter, including the National Climate Action Plan and the adoption of the People’s Survival Fund.

Current national targets for climate adaptation and mitigation are also enumerated in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011–2016. Broadly, the PDP 2011–2016 pushes to (a) strengthen institutional capacities for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation (DRR/CCA) programs; (b) improve adaptive capacity of communities; (c) reduce vulnerability of ecosystems and biodiversity; (d) promote greener technologies and practices; and (e) utilize untapped renewable and alternative energy resources.


Investing for the future

Over the last few years, large amounts of funds—both from domestic and international sources—have been invested to support these initiatives. Legally defined in RA 9729 (2009), climate finance covers the “allocation of public resources towards the climate change adaptation and mitigation requirements of the country and vulnerable communities, through frameworks, mechanisms, and processes that are equitable, accountable, transparent, and are in line with the national development goals.”

According to National Economic and Development Authority, the Philippines received a total of USD 2.21 billion of Official Development Assistance (ODA) in 2011 to support 78 climate change programs and projects. Almost half (55 percent) of these ODA-assisted initiatives focused on adaptation and only 16 percent on mitigation. Of these initiatives, 60 programs and projects (77 percent) are grant-assisted, while the remaining 23 percent were funded through loans (Centeno, 2012).

Multilateral and bilateral funds have been earmarked as part of the international commitments on climate change including those channelled under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), such as the Adaptation Fund and Green Climate Fund. These fund sources are financed by voluntary contributions of heavily industrialized countries as well as proceeds from Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) initiatives adopted in compliance with international agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol.

As of May 2015, around USD 10 billion-worth of climate investments have been pledged under these mechanisms. However, only USD 5.5 billion have been officially operationalized (World Bank, 2013). The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has also allocated a total of USD 8.8 million from 2010–2014 and about USD 7.5 million is proposed for the next GEF funding cycle (CCC, 2015). Other independent investments have also been pledged through the country’s partnership with other national governments and aid agencies, including Australia, Germany, Japan, South Korea, and the United States.


Mobilizing local investments

The Philippines has leveraged increased national investments on CCA/DRR initiatives in the past couple of years. While it only represents a small percentage of the national budget, local climate appropriations have remarkably increased from 0.9 percent in 2008 to 1.9 percent in 2012. This allocation now covers around 0.3 percent of the country’s current gross domestic product (World Bank, 2013).

However, a closer review of the country’s climate expenditures reveal that a large percentage of the national budget is spent on the infrastructure and energy sectors. In 2013, the Department of Public Works and Highway allotted around USD 450 million for flood control and management projects. On the other hand, the Department of Energy set a USD 84-million budget to enhance the country’s energy efficiency.

Most of the national projects implemented in past years focus on adaptation. These initiatives include the promotion of organic and climate-smart agriculture by the Department of Agriculture and building up the capacity of PAGASA, the national weather agency, on weather and flood forecasting and disaster risk reduction. In terms of mitigation, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources raised its budget to USD 1.5 billion in 2013, most of which are for the National Greening Program primarily targeting to replant 1.5 billion trees over 1.5 million hectares of land from 2011 to 2016.

In 2012, the Philippine government also established the People’s Survival Fund, a special allocation from the national budget to finance long-term adaptation and mitigation measures. Local government units and CCC-accredited organizations can access this special fund amounting to PHP 1 billion (about USD 22 million). Local initiatives that can be supported by this fund include setting up early warning systems, providing climate risk insurance to farmers, building local capacities, and enhancing information dissemination.

Efforts have also been made to further engage the private sector in scaling up their adaptation and mitigation initiatives. However, private sector’s involvement remains to be limited since majority of these projects are implemented under corporate social responsibility (CSR) schemes. Claudio (2012) explained that most business entities in the country focus on enhancing their compliance to environmental standards and regulation, improving their use of natural resources, and increasing awareness on climate change and other key environmental issues. On the other hand, public-private partnerships (PPPs) have only focused on a few profitable sectors, including infrastructure, water services, and energy. Weak policy and institutional mechanisms continue to be major barriers for increased private sector engagement. Further support can only be leveraged if sustainable incentives are adopted, including tax breaks and other non-fiscal incentives.


The future of climate finance

The challenge now is to align these investment and strategies to long-term climate change adaptation and mitigation plans and policies, especially at the grassroots level. Building the capacity of local governments and laying out effective implementing mechanisms is critically important since these local units are in the frontline to respond to these risks. Best practices on climate adaptation and mitigation at the community level should also be replicated, scaled up, or integrated into local development plans and programs.

Good governance and transparency should also be championed once legal and institutional frameworks have been set. Climate finance would only be effective if funds are properly used.

Instead of solely relying on foreign investments in the form of loans and grants, there is also a need to establish sustainable financial mechanisms at the local level. The trade-not-aid debate argues that more emphasis should be given in strengthening the institutional capabilities of governments and making local and global markets work for sustained local growth. Eliminating financial barriers and promoting strengthened partnerships with the private sector would make aid much less necessary.



Centeno, J. (2012). Climate change financing in the Philippines [Powerpoint presentation]. National Economic Development Authority.

Claudio, C. (2012). Climate change adaptation: Best practices in the Philippines. Manila: DENR. Accessed 17 June 2015, from

Climate Change Act of 2009, Republic Act No. 9729, 14th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines. (2009). Accessed 17 June 2015, from

Kreft, S., Eckstein, D., Junghans, L., Kerestan, C., & Hagen, U. (2014). Global climate risk index 2015: Who suffers most from extreme weather events? Berlin: German Watch. Accessed 17 June 2015, from

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. (2014). NDRRMC update on the effects of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Quezon City, Philippines: NDRRMC. Accessed 17 June 2015, from

National Economic and Development Authority. (2011). Philippine Development Plan 2011–2016. Pasig City, Philippines: NEDA. Accessed 17 June 2015, from

World Bank. (2013). Getting a grip on climate change in the Philippines. Washington, DC: World Bank. Accessed 17 June 2015, from