TUGUEGARAO, Isabela — In response to the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) report on the under-utilization of development funds by several local government units (LGUs), the Commission on Climate Change Commissioner Albert delaCruz has called on local executives to step up their climate action efforts.

In particular, the Commissioner is urging them to allocate a portion of their budgets to initiate projects aimed at addressing the threats and impacts of climate change.

Before the climate official’s appeal, DILG provincial director Farah Gentuya had urged regional and local government units in Negros Oriental to maximize their respective development funds.

It was discovered that a significant portion of the LGUs’ development funds for 2022 remained under-utilized, reaching only 20 percent.

These development funds will support various initiatives, including disaster response and climate action programs that promote climate change mitigation and adaptation to its impacts and global warming.

In light of the concerning data, Commissioner Dela Cruz emphasizes the crucial role of LGUs in combating environmental degradation caused by human activities, such as mismanagement of waste disposal, deforestation, water pollution, and ignorance of the adverse effects of greenhouse gas emissions.

The climate official is now traveling to northern Luzon to meet with local officials, environmental advocates, and stakeholders from both the private and public sectors.

The purpose is to discuss the acceleration of their Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP) and collaboration with the Climate Change Commission (CCC) in addressing challenges posed by extreme weather conditions linked to increasing global temperatures and rising sea levels.

Dela Cruz stresses that it is imperative for LGUs and executives to take the global climate crisis seriously before its impacts on people’s lives become irreversible.

He warns that our planet is facing a dire situation, and it is essential to acknowledge our responsibility for causing this impending disaster through the abuse of Earth’s resources.

Dela Cruz believes that many individuals seem indifferent to climate change, continuing with a “business as usual” approach.

Additionally, the commissioner highlights the significance of water in climate mitigation. He emphasizes the need to adopt comprehensive water ecosystems strategies, such as those employed for lakes and the construction of rainwater catchments, to address imminent water shortages resulting from weather phenomena like El Niño. (ai/mnm)