MANILA - Environmental organization Greenpeace has defended its decision to file a petition against the world's "biggest polluters" before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in the Philippines.
Amalie Obusan, Greenpeace country director, said major polluters may not be operating in the Philippines but the impact they have on the lives of human beings goes beyond their country of origin.
"Climate change knows no boundaries. I don't think this is the kind of investigation that should be restricted legally in terms of geography," she told ANC.
"Whatever their business plans are, wherever their operations are, it does not mean that their impacts do not reach the Philippine shores," she added, citing the effects of Super Typhoon "Yolanda" that left thousands dead in the Visayas in November 2013.
Greenpeace, together with hundreds of climate activists, filed a human rights complaint against coal, oil and gas conglomerates before the CHR in 2015 -- the first of its kind in the world.
Included in the complaint are 50 investor-owned fossil fuel companies such as Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips, many of which have subsidiaries in the Philippines.
The CHR began its first public hearing on the petition Tuesday.
"Carbon Majors," a study led by researcher Richard Heede, shows that these companies are among 90 legal entities responsible for the largest global carbon dioxide and methane emissions in the world.
Obusan said the environmental groups are hoping their case would prosper in the CHR, and would eventually result in changes in policies and corporate behavior.
The Philippines, one of the world's most vulnerable countries to natural disasters, was among nations that pushed for the adoption of the historic 2015 Paris climate agreement.
The pact binds countries to action to abate carbon emissions in a bid to delay the effects of global warming.