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Groups to fossil fuel financiers: Hands off VIP!

Protect VIP

Protect VIP on Saturday reported the success of its second week of a European tour to directly demand from banks an end to financing fossil fuel projects that put in peril the marine biodiversity of the Verde Island Passage.

The group led by Protect VIP Convenor and Goldman Prize Awardee Father Edwin Gariguez intervened during the annual general meeting of HSBC where they questioned the bank’s continued financing of both Shell and San Miguel Corporation’s gas projects in the VIP.

“As banks convene during their annual general meetings, we stand right in front of their doors to convey our displeasure in their massive role in enabling destructive fossil gas projects’ existence and rapid development around the fragile Verde Island Passage. While they discuss their financial gains, it is only right to confront them about the reality of their investments that risk the beauty and biodiversity of VIP and leave thousands of communities and fisherfolk vulnerable to livelihood loss and stronger impacts of the climate crisis,” said Fr. Gariguez.

Banks that finance Shell’s $66 million liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Batangas include Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and HSBC while banks and financiers responsible for San Miguel Corporation Global Power Corporation’s (SMC Global Power) 14.1 GW of proposed projects, the biggest in the Philippines and Southeast Asia and whose subsidiary chartered the ship that capsized in the VIP, include Standard Chartered, ING, DWS, and UBS.

“Banks report profit records year-after-year and remain impervious to the struggles of the communities that host their fossil fuel projects. We must draw the line on the financing that harms the VIP. We encourage banks to instead be champions for the climate-vulnerable people of the Philippines and assist us in achieving energy stability and security that is free from fossil fuels,” said Gerry Arances, Executive Director of the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development, and co-convenor of Protect VIP.

Protect VIP is set to engage more banks and investors in the coming week as they amplify the resistance from the growing movement calling for the protection of the ‘Amazon of the oceans’, which is currently under threat because of the ongoing oil spill.

“Standing up against these financing giants means standing up for VIP and our people. Let our presence here be a reminder to them that the decisions they make behind closed doors have life-and-death consequences for real people. We will continue to struggle for a livable future that is free from coal, gas, and other fossil fuels,” added Fr. Gariguez.

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