MANILA - The road to the ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change was not all smooth sailing, according to environment advocate Sen. Loren Legarda.
“It was not easy to be able to convince the executive department to finally ratify the agreement,” Legarda said on ANC’s “Talkback.”
Legarda said that when President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office, they had to repeat the whole process of securing the concurrence of all Cabinet members.
“They did not lack in the passion and conviction but the whole process of securing the 33 certificates of concurrence once again…,” Legarda explained.
She said the ratification “took some time” since the new administration had to study the impact of the agreement on different sectors of the country.
Duterte signed earlier this month the agreement, which aims to slash greenhouse gas emissions and keep global temperature increases to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius.
Duterte earlier admitted that he had misgivings about the Paris climate pact, saying the historic agreement was tilted in favor of industrialized nations.
She added that she sent Duterte’s economic team and Cabinet secretaries copies of documents and studies to prove that the climate change agreement would be beneficial for the Philippines.
“It’s something that’s good for the country, for our people, and for the world that finally the Philippines is part of the global conversation on the issue of climate change,” she said.
Legarda said she never doubted that the agreement would eventually be ratified.
“I had never doubted that the President would eventually ratify the agreement. It just took some time for him to read the agreement,” she said.
She said that even before the approval of the agreement, the Philippines had long been involved in advancing environmental causes, as seen in the country’s laws such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Law.
Legarda said she remains persistent in pushing for laws on environmental issues because she believes that climate justice is a “gut issue.”
“We just have to be persistent and patient. And every 3 months or less, I stand on the floor and I talk about reducing disaster risks by being prepared. I talk about the importance of climate change adaptation in a vulnerable country like the Philippines,” she said.