The Philippine government continues to put in place measures and initiatives leaned towards the declaration of climate emergency, as a policy instrument to help the Philippines achieve its goals under the Paris Climate Agreement.
The House Committee on Disaster Resilience adopted on Tuesday a resolution declaring a disaster and climate emergency. House Resolution No. 535, filed by 2nd District of Albay Representative Joey Salceda, expressed the will of the House that the country has been suffering from a disaster and climate emergency which now compels a whole-of-government, whole-of-society, and whole-of-nation policy response to anticipate, address, adapt to its impacts and causes.
“There is an urgent need to address this problem to ensure climate justice for current and future generations of Filipinos and ensure their survival in the face projected adverse impacts of climate change and disasters, and also ensure that the Philippine government has learned the past decade’s mistakes, making sure not to repeat them by being proactive in changing the present practice of our current climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster risk reduction (CCAM-DRR) efforts through legislation,” the resolution reads.
“Scientists, environmentalists, practitioners, policymakers, and local legislators across the globe are raising the spectre of a disaster and climate emergency, requiring urgent policy responses, particularly to asess whether the institutional mechanisms and government agencies created by Congress are up to the task of addressing climate and disaster impacts, and whether our national and local budgets are climate and disaster-responsive, especially now that the world is facing a climate emergency.”
The said resolution recommends the following:
– Declare the year 2020 as a Disaster and Climate Emergency awareness year;
– Conduct continuous inquiries in aid of legislation and in relation to its oversight functions, on measures being implemented by all concerned national agencies to address the impacts of disasters and climate change on the fundamental rights of Filipinos;
– Ensure the full integration and convergence of disaster risk reduction and cliate change adaptation and mitigation efforts through the passage of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DRR) bill as an urgent policy response; and
– Enjoin a whole-of-government, whole-of-nation and whole-of-society mobilization on disaster and climate emergency, in behalf of climate-vulnerable LGUs, communities, business sectors, academia, scientific research institutions, civil society non-governmental organizations, religious group, tri-media and stakeholders.
Earlier this year, the Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation – Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM-DRR) Cabinet Cluster supported the legislation’s call for declaration of climate emergency and adopted the House Resolution 535. The members of the cluster are now studying its recommendation to the President.
President Rodrigo Duterte would look into the suggestion of declaration of national climate emergency following the spate of typhoons in the country and devastating floods suffered by Filipinos, considering that addressing climate change is one of his top priorities.
The president, in his speech at the recent 37th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit, called on other vulnerable countries to demand climate justice from the international community, urging developed nations to cut their carbon emissions which are the most responsible for fueling the climate crisis.
The Philippines, being one of the most vulnerable nations, must heighten the capacity of its people to survive amidst the climate emergency by mobilizing its people, institutions and resources.