Climate Justice Group Challenges Presumptive President Duterte’s 8-Point Agenda with Urgent Peoples’ Demands on Climate Change

13268490_592548140909635_8879500568790818304_oThe Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) challenges Presumptive President Duterte to make true to his promise of “change is coming” when he was still campaigning for the highest post. With only a matter of formality, Mayor Duterte will step in as the 16th  President of the Philippine Republic come July 01, 2016.

Early last week, presumptive President Duterte unveiled his administration’s 8-Point Economic Agenda. On top of his agenda, Duterte is set to continue and maintain the current macroeconomic policies. He will also ensure attractiveness of the Philippines to foreign direct investments by addressing restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution and our laws and enhancing competitiveness of the economy. “It is alarming that if we maintain our current macroeconomic policies and make our economy more liberalized, our country will be more vulnerable to climate change impacts” said Philippine Movement for Climate Justice National Coordinator Ian Rivera. “During the last 5 years, we have experienced strong typhoons and prolonged severed drought as a result of climate change. These impacts  cost us billions of pesos in damages and led to the loss of thousands of lives in a relatively short span of time.  Duterte’s 8 – point agenda needs serious “climate proofing”. ” added Mr. Rivera.

The Philippines is being confronted these days by massive and severe impacts brought about by climate change. Just over the last five years,  the country suffered from calamities and disasters including Yolanda in 2013, the strongest typhoon ever recorded in history. The problem has gone to the extent that it is no longer possible to revert its negative effects to our climate and environment. Climate change has also widened the inequality gap between the rich and the poor. Government and leaders around the world are taking climate change issue very seriously. “We cannot afford a “business-as-usual” attitude within the next six years. Certainly, drastic policies and actions must be taken if we aim to make our country and people survive the catastrophes in the future” Sanlakas Secretary General Atty. Aaron Pedrosa pointed out.

PMCJ also stresses equally pressing issue of energy in the country. ”We stand at a very crucial stage in the energy discourse, where there is a growing rejection of dirty energy both locally and internationally,” said Center for Energy, Ecology and Development (CEED) Convenor Gerry Arances. “Dirty energy has not only been proven to be a risk to the environment, health and livelihood of communities, it is also been scientifically proven to be a risk to the economy and development,” he added.

Arances noted a recent study from the Oxford University has found out that coal facilities will soon turn into stranding assets which will prove to be economic liabilities in the future given the economic and environmental risks they pose. In spite of this, the construction of coal-fired power plants approved during the incumbent administration will bind the Philippines to dependence on coal for the next 25 to 50 years. “This goes against the international trend of investors ceasing to invest in coal, culminating in the bankruptcy of Peabody, one of the largest companies involved in coal. We cannot subject ourselves to pay both the financial and environmental cost for energy which has been proven to be a declining industry globally,” Arances stated.

The group also raised suspicion over Cusi’s credentials , referring to Alfonso Cusi, who was chosen by Duterte to head the Department of Energy. Cusi, the former Manila International Authority, Philippine Ports Authority and Civil Aviation Authority Chief, is a known political ally of  former President Gloria Arroyo. He is previously accused of helping provide transportation to facilitate the alleged bribery in the May 2004 elections.

PMCJ then ask the incoming President Duterte: Is Cusi the right person to navigate our shift to renewable and more sustainable energy. or will just the business-as-usual track of the energy sector?” asked Kristine Balmes of Archdiocese Ministry for Environment (AMEN) of Batangas.

During the press conference held in Quezon City, PMCJ outlined its 8-Point Urgent Demands on Climate Change to which the new administration must consider upon assumption of office.

  1. Lead in calling for deep and ambitious emission reductions by rich and industrialized countries within the shortest time possible and commit    to Philippines’ 70% reduction as embodied in the country’s Intended    Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs);
  1. Call for rich and industrialized countries to finance in the form of grants to address climate change impacts in the country;
  1. Impose moratorium on new coal-fired power plants in the country pending the conduct of    thorough investigation of all coal power plants in the Philippines;
  1. Phase-out coal power plants and other power plants that use harmful and dirty fuels;
  1. Stop coal and other mining projects in the country;
  1. Pursue a Swift Transition to Clean and Renewable Energy for People and Communities. Review and revise the country’s energy and power            generation laws including EPIRA and support the wider implementation of Renewable Energy Act of the Philippines; Review and revise the         country’s energy and power generation laws including EPIRA and support the wider implementation of Renewable Energy Act of the Philippines;
  1. Pursue people-centered rehabilitation and adaptation plan;
  1. Formulate strategic action plan that will address El Nino, La Nina and other climate-induced calamities.

For more details please contact:
Ian Rivera (PMCJ National Coordinator) – 09174746178
Atty. Aaron Pedrosa (Sanlakas Secretary General) – 09275924830
Gerry Arances (CEED Executive Director) – 09176306098

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