Green activists welcomed a move in the Philippines’ Lower House of Congress to adopt resolutions supporting the call to declare a climate emergency.
Greenpeace Philippines described it as a “starting point for the government to put climate action and climate justice at the center of governance.”
The House of Representatives last week adopted House Resolution No. 1377, declaring a climate and environmental emergency to ensure “enhanced and coherent climate actions in the executive and legislative agenda of the government.”
The resolution was authored by Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, Rep. Edgar Chatto, head of the Climate Change Committee, Rep. Eufemia Cullamat of Bayan Muna, and the late Cebu City Rep. Raul del Mar.
Among the key components of the resolution is to call on major carbon emitters to take responsibility for climate change, reinvest in renewable and sustainable energy, and encourage local governments to issue climate emergency declarations.
The group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment said a “climate emergency declaration” is needed urgently and climate actions must be taken seriously and holistically.
The group, however, said any declaration is empty “if it doesn’t provide concrete aid to millions of victims in the recent typhoon and flood disasters.”
“It is an insulting tokenism if it does not not hold accountable polluters and plunderers who destroyed our watersheds and contributed to global warming,” said Leon Dulce, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.
He said the government cannot claim preparedness if the damages get bigger every time a disaster happens in the country.
Another House resolution was also adopted, eyeing an enjoined “whole-of-government, whole-of-nation, and whole-of-society mobilization” on disaster and climate emergency.
Some of the provisions in the resolutions, including holding nations accountable and ensuring a rapid transition to renewable energy, are also reflected in Greenpeace’s demand for the national government to declare a climate emergency.
Greenpeace Philippines Campaigner Virginia Benosa-Llorin said following through with the resolutions is urgent and necessary as thousands of families continue to deal with the impacts of consecutive typhoons.
“We look forward to seeing urgent and aggressive congressional action on climate change following the passage of these resolutions,” said Llorin.
The environment group reiterated that the Philippines must now call for accountability from nations as well as corporations that are most responsible for climate change and its severe impacts on the Filipino people.
For Dulce, the declaration of a climate emergency should come with the accountability of firms and government officials that have contributed to the “squandering of natural resources” and a holistic policy that mitigates the impacts of climate change.
They added that environmental plunder prevailed because of vested interests.