Climate strike: The Filipino youth rises

September 19, 2019

When schoolchildren from around the world – from the edge of the Arctic Circle to the South Pacific – made their voices heard on a historic Friday last March 15 in one of the largest global efforts to demand more action on climate change, it seemed nothing much was heard from students of the Philippines.

But this September 20 promises to be different. And it could be historic, too.

Students from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Universidad de Manila, and other public schools, as well as members of the Sangguniang Kabataan, shall form the Philippine participation to the worldwide demonstrations inspired by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Cecile Guidote Alvarez, UNESCO Artist for Peace and Magsaysay Laureate, said the kickoff event of the Global Strike for Climate Justice, International Peace Day and World Clean-up will be held at the Earthsavers Gallery of the Sea Baywalk ground of Manila Yacht Club, Roxas Blvd., starting at 7am.

Convened by former Sen. Heherson Alvarez, founder of Earthsavers and chair of the Climate Institute Advisory Board, the event “will model the mobilization of youth leadership of the City of Manila headed by Mayor Isko Moreno,” and is intended to “fulfill the Paris Accord through Clean-up and re-greening and initiatives to promote a culture of peace.” Former Sen. Joey Lina of Sagot Kita Bayan is co-convener.

Environmental and peace songs will be rendered by the Blind Singers of Earthsavers at the event. Alvarez said “paintings of caffeneited palette and the Marawi paintings against armed conflict by Nemi Miranda will be bannered by the youth participants.”

The environmental activism of Thunberg, who was nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, has ignited a movement that has gained momentum worldwide as hundreds of thousands of students skip classes to gather on the streets during Fridays to protest against government inaction and inadequate policies of world leaders in tackling adverse effects of climate change.

“The oceans are rising, so are we,” read a placard in a Sydney protest action.

“Why should we go and study for a future that may not exist anymore?” Thunberg said in a TV interview, as she expressed delight over the global response of the youth to her advocacy. “More people are starting to become aware of the situation and that we are facing a crisis… It’s amazing to see that hundreds of thousands of children from all around the world are realizing this and are making their voices heard.”



The ruling of Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Eduardo Ramon Reyes which found the Philippine Coast Guard personnel guilty for the 2013 homicide of Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng has thwarted what could have been renewed tension and bitterness in Taiwan against the Philippines.

The shooting of the captain of the Taiwanese vessel Guang Da Xing No. 28 on May 9, 2013 at Balintang Channel, in an area where exclusive economic zones of Taiwan and the Philippines overlap, sparked a diplomatic impasse between the two countries. So much bitterness pervaded Taiwan then when its president at that time described what occurred as “cold-blooded murder.”

When the court ruling came out on Wednesday, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines said: “Today, the long-awaited justice in this shooting incident was served but it was a hard and a bitter experience for both countries… The Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) welcomes the verdict, and expresses its gratitude and respect to the Philippine judicial system.”

TECO added: “May the verdict in this case serve, not only as a symbol of justice, but also a testament to the solid relationship and deep mutual trust between Taiwan and the Philippines… We now have to move on from this tragic incident and determine how to further enhance the bilateral relationships between our two countries.”

It is indeed time to move on and further strengthen friendly ties.