THE Philippine government is mulling over the declaration of a “climate emergency” to help deepen the country’s commitment to protect its economy, environment and communities from climate change.
According to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, the country has already suffered billions of pesos in losses, damage and disruptions due to the impacts of hydrometeoroligical hazards hence the need to urgently address more projected adverse effects to ensure climate justice for the current and future generations of Filipinos.
The Philippines, he added, continues to put in place measures to tackle climate change while all government programs and initiatives are leaning towards the declaration of “climate emergency.”
Cimatu, who chairs the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM-DRR), said he issued the statement after environmental group Greenpeace Philippines urged President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to declare a climate emergency as a policy instrument to help the Philippines achieve its goals under the Paris Climate Agreement.
Responding to the call, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Chief Executive would consider declaring a climate emergency given that mitigating effects of climate change is high on his agenda.
As early as February this year, the Cabinet Cluster on CCAM-DRR approved a resolution supporting House Resolution No. 535, entitled “Declaring a Disaster and Climate Change Emergency” filed by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda in November 2019.
Also in February, the Cabinet Cluster on CCAM-DRR approved another resolution underscoring the urgent need to consolidate government data in order to generate a nationwide climate risk assessment.
Cimatu said it is high time for the government to maintain a reliable climate risk profile that could inform and support development and investment planning and climate finance.
“With the consolidated government data, which is very important in articulation of climate rationale for project proposal development, the local government units could be enabled to have easier access to the People’s Survival Fund for their climate change-related development projects,” he said.
The two resolutions support strategies to enable the country to achieve its goals under the Paris Agreement, in which world leaders committed to keep the planet’s temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
In 2017, President Duterte signed the Paris Agreement, which came into force in November 2016. The Philippines committed to reduce its greenhouse emissions by 70 percent by 2030, but will need technical and financial support to achieve it.