The Committee on Climate Change, Environment and Natural Resources held its fourth quarter online meeting on November 9, 2022 to discuss updates on the government’s programs and projects.

The National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) presented the current Philippine Land Cover. NAMRIA elaborated on its land cover mapping methodology and the 12 aggregated land cover categories (i.e. open/closed forest, mangrove forest, annual crop, perennial crop, fishpond, etc.).

With the recent visits of strong and destructive typhoons in the country, the Committee recommended that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources conduct a correlation study between the country’s existing land cover and the degree of damage attributed to typhoons. 

The study’s result would help the government in managing disaster risks of tropical cyclones by comparing and assessing typhoon damages across areas with different land covers, through visual or Geographic Information System mapping.

In line with the discussion, the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) also reported that it is currently handling 149 reclamation projects. One hundred twenty-eight of these projects are in the application stage, two are ongoing/for implementation, and 12 are being implemented.

Some of the Committee members expressed their concern about the impacts of the reclamation projects surrounding terrestrial areas and fishing communities, especially those that are already suffering multi-use conflict like Manila Bay.

The Body thus recommended the PRA to consider imposing a moratorium on reclamation projects, in consideration of the threshold and carrying capacity of Manila Bay.Lastly, with the presentation of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the Committee passed a resolution that recommends the Department of Agriculture to conduct a study on the threats and impacts of mining on agriculture and fisheries areas in the country. This is to determine appropriate strategic directions for the holistic protection of such areas and the stakeholders. | JCL