How will presidential candidates address issues brought by climate change

Josiah Antonio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 04 2022 01:57 AM

Presidential candidates pose for a group photo moments before the start of COMELEC’s official debates held at the Sofitel Tent in Pasay City on March 19, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News.
Presidential candidates pose for a group photo moments before the start of COMELEC’s official debates held at the Sofitel Tent in Pasay City on March 19, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News.

MANILA — Presidential candidates, except the late dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, discussed Sunday how they plan to address the climate crisis during the second Commission on Elections-sponsored debate. 

In the fourth segment of the debate, aspirants laid down their platforms on how they will ensure enough supplies of food, water, and energy while helping the environment recover.

SHIFT TO RENEWABLE ENERGY

Partido Lakas ng Masa bet Leody de Guzman said that the national government should have the "political will" to implement the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 and let go of coal and fossil fuels. 

"Dapat ay magkaroon na ng matibay na desisyon upang bitawan na natin ‘yung coal plant dahil ito ang pinakamaruming source of energy at itong fossil fuel ay alisin na natin then paspasin na natin ‘yung paglipat sa renewable energy," de Guzman said. 

(We must have a firm decision to let go of coal plants because these are the dirtiest source of energy, we will stop using fossil fuels and speed up the transition to renewable energy.) 

"Ganoon ang ating gawin dahil tayo naman, ang ating bansa ay pinagpala dahil napakarami nating source ng renewable energy," he added.

(That is what we will do because we, our country is blessed because we have so many sources of renewable energy.)

Vice President Leni Robredo added that there should be a roadmap to attain COP26's goal to be carbon neutral by 2050.

"Unang-una nating dapat gawin, ayusin ‘yung roadmap, ano ba ‘yung target na milestones natin every few years para ‘yung target natin papunta roon at talagang klaro sa’tin na papunta na tayo sa pagiging carbon neutral. So dapat pinaghahandaan na natin papaano ba tayo magta-transition sa isang fossil fuel dependent na source ng electricity hanggang sa pagiging carbon neutral," Robredo said. 

(First of all, we have to do, fix the roadmap, what are our target milestones every few years, our target to get there, and it is really clear to us that we are going to be carbon neutral. So we have to prepare how to transition from a fossil fuel-dependent source of electricity to being carbon neutral.)

"Gaya ng sinabi ni Ka Leody, mayroon nang batas para rito so kailangan i-implement natin ‘yung batas para maabot natin ‘yung ating pagiging carbon neutral by 2050," she added. 

(As Ka Leody said, there is already a law for this so we need to implement the law so that we can be carbon neutral by 2050.)

Ernesto Abella focused on proposing programs that would instill the importance of the environment to the youth while Jose Montemayor Jr. said he wants to hold big countries like the United States and China accountable for the problems brought on by climate change. 

Meanwhile, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno proposed an "agrivoltaic system" wherein you produce food and clean renewable energy. 

"This thing is existing in the boundary of Netherlands and Germany and this is adaptable in our geography because we are a tropical country, we have so much sun and we can harness the power of the sun to produce energy," Moreno said. 

'WE NEED WATER'

To have enough sources of clean potable water for households and irrigation, Moreno proposed to encourage water companies to invest in strengthening their watersheds. 

"I’m sad to say it’s existing and I guarantee you, I will look into it and invest in it for our farmers and for the household of every Filipino family," he added. 

Norberto Gonzales said that the national government should have proper national planning while Sen. Ping Lacson reiterated the importance of investing in research and development projects. 

"Bakit hindi tayo mag-invest ng mas malaking halaga sa ating national budget para sa research and development nang sa ganoon ating ipunin ‘yung mga nasasayang na tubig na galing sa ulan at pakinabangan ng ating mga kababayan, hindi lamang sa irigasyon ng ating agrikultura kundi sa pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan, Lacson added.

(Why don't we invest more of our national budget into research and development so that we can collect water from the rain to benefit our countrymen, not only for irrigation of agriculture but also FOR the daily needs of our countrymen.)

Robredo echoed Lacson's sentiments saying: "Mayroon isang existing study na ina-identify niya na ‘yung mga malalaking rivers natin na dun pwedeng mag-source ng tubig, kailangan na lang talagang pondohan kaya po ito po magiging priority po natin ito." 

(There is an existing study that identifies large rivers that can be a water source, we just really need to fund it so this will be our priority.)

Meanwhile, Sen. Manny Pacquiao proposed to have a Department of Water Management.
 

"Kasi nakaimbestiga ako niyan, tulakan nang tulakan eh kung sinong in charge sa pag-manage ng tubig kaya kailangan natin ng Department of Water. Importante po ‘yan para ma-manage nang husto ‘yung tubig natin," he said. 

(I was able to investigate that, there's some push and pull of who is in charge of water management so we need the Department of Water. That is important to properly manage our water.)

FOOD SECURITY

Jose Montemayor Jr. said he wanted to bring back agriculture, fisheries, and forestry as "core competencies" of the Philippines.

"We will be aggressive to prepare the country in the future problems of food shortage. Tandaan natin, we cannot forever rely on other countries," Montemayor said. 

He also slammed the Rice Tariffication Law, which he said made life more difficult for local farmers.

Pacquiao added that the country should not be dependent on imports, and support local farmers and fisherfolk. 

Faisal Mangondato and Moreno echoed their rivals' sentiments with the latter noting that there should be tax cuts for local farmers and fisherfolk; subsidies on oil, energy, fertilizer; a 3-year moratorium on land-use conversion. 

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