A group of young climate advocates from the Bicol region called on the government to declare a national “climate emergency” following the devastation of super typhoon “Rolly” (international name: Goni), which displaced over 100,000 people.
The demand for strong political commitment also came as the country marked the seventh anniversary of super typhoon “Yolanda (Haiyan).”
“‘Rolly’ should be a wake-up call,” said Bill Bontigao, a 20-year-old from Tabaco, Albay, whose house was damaged by the typhoon.
“We, along with my fellow young Bicolanos, are scared because if we do not take this seriously, we will be expecting more catastrophic events,” said Bontigao, president of the Science Alliance Club of Bicol University.
In a position paper released on Monday, November 9, the group expressed support for the call of various sectors for a climate emergency declaration “to ensure urgent actions to mitigate climate change.”
“This is the last wake-up call and reminder for us to do better,” read the young people’s statement.
“These typhoons are induced more by climate change and global warming. We have experienced enough and we deserve a sustainable, livable, lovable, and a better way of living,” they added.
They said that declaring a climate emergency must include holding big polluters accountable for their contribution to the climate crisis.
Greenpeace Philippines has earlier called on the government to show climate leadership.
“When the youth calls for climate emergency declaration, the government must listen,” said Greenpeace campaigner Virginia Benosa-Llorin.
“In a country that is regularly battered by strong typhoons, Filipino youth need protection,” she said, adding that “one way to ensure they are protected is to set policy directions that put people and the planet first.”