Climate advocates lauded the filing of a bill seeking to establish a legal framework for climate loss and damage accountability in the Philippine Congress.
“This is a welcome development but this is just the start. We must ensure that policies such as this are passed swiftly through Congress and not be watered down by corporate interests,” said Greenpeace campaigner Jefferson Chua.
On November 22, lawmakers Edgar Chatto, Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong, Fernando Cabredo, Anna Victoria Veloso-Tuazon, Christian Tell Yap, and Jose Manuel Alba filed HB 9609 or the Climate Accountability (CLIMA) Act.
The proposed measure is the first one of its kind globally. If passed into law, it will open the possibility for corporate climate accountability to be recognized by a state.
John Leo Algo of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas said, “Our hope is for the KLIMA Bill to be another example of an innovative solution initiated by Filipinos.”
Algo said the bill sends “a strong message to the global community that the Philippines is not just a country of victims and reactors, but a nation of initiators and enactors of change against climate change, especially on addressing loss and damage.”
Rodne Galicha of Living Laudato Si Philippines urged Congress to “swiftly pass and enact” the bill “to strengthen climate action in the country”.
“Responding to the latest science and circumstances shall lead to accountability which assures intergenerational justice. We call on our legislators to prioritize this bill because we are running out of time,” he said.
Rodne reiterated his organization’s call for the settlement of climate debts and hold those responsible for this crisis accountable.
“Making them pay for what was lost and damaged, and work with haste for just transition where no one is left behind, including ecosystems,” he added.
Chua called on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to mark the bill as a priority and champion climate accountability as a state policy.
“Beyond this act, however, we are urging the Philippine government to pursue all means available and necessary to hold polluters accountable, and make them pay for their outsized role in the climate crisis,” he said.
If passed, the bill will provide a framework for limiting fossil fuel expansion and aligning businesses with the Paris Agreement.
It also aims to facilitate climate reparations to impacted communities through the establishment of a loss and damage fund.