MANILA—The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) urged key stakeholders abroad to participate in its landmark probe into how major fossil-fuel companies contribute to climate change and the impact of this worldwide phenomenon.
Commissioner Roberto Eugenio Cadiz, who chairs the national inquiry, assured those interested to participate that the CHR's climate change probe will be global, inclusive and dialogical "rather than adversarial."
The CHR on Tuesday began its first public hearing on a human rights complaint filed by various groups against the "goliaths of coal, oil and gas."
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.
Indigenous peoples, farmers, calamity victims, scientists, environmental groups and other stakeholders attended the probe, the first of its kind in the world. Each of them shared how climate change affected their lives.
"Nasira na ang gubat na tinuturing naming tahanan at pinagkukunan ng tubig, pagkain, at maging medisina," said Rica Cahilig, who belongs to the Ayta Ambala indigenous group in Bataan.
Farmer Felix Pascua Jr. said: "Kaming magbubukid na lumilikha ng pagkain ng bansa, pero kaming mambubukid ang nawawalan ng pagkain, pati na rin ang aming bukid."
CHR chairperson Chito Gascon said the country is at the forefront in addressing climate issues because Filipinos are among those who have suffered most from it.
"Nowhere has it been more dramatically demonstrated than in November of 2013, when our country was visited by Typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda," he said.
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, which binds countries to action to abate carbon emissions in a bid to delay the effects of global warming.