Ka Leody calls for climate justice: Rich countries must pay PH, other nations most affected by climate change

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 04 2022 10:31 PM

Presidential candidate Leody De Guzman during the second Commission on Elections’ #PilipinasDebates2022: The Turning Point at the Sofitel Tent in Pasay City on April 3, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Presidential candidate Leody De Guzman during the second Commission on Elections’ #PilipinasDebates2022: The Turning Point at the Sofitel Tent in Pasay City on April 3, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Rich countries that contributed the most to global carbon emissions should compensate third world countries like the Philippines that are bearing the brunt of the effects of rising global temperatures.

Labor leader and presidential candidate Ka Leody de Guzman made this call Monday at an online environmental forum organized by students of the Philippine Christian University.

Referring to a recent report by a United Nations climate panel, De Guzman said the world is now nearing the 1.5-degree Celsius warming threshold, beyond which damage to the environment might become irreversible.

“Isang malaking issue na ngayon globally itong climate emergency. Nasa climate emergency na tayo dahil sa tantiya, malapit na sa 1.5 degree na siyang sukatan na pwede pang mabuhay ang maraming bagay. Pero pag lumampas na sa 1.5 degree ay medyo marami nang buhay sa mundo na mamamatay,” he said. 

“At kung di natin mami-mitigate 'yan at magtutuloy-tuloy ay hindi na kayang hadlangan pa yung mabilis na pag-init ng mundo na magdudulot ng maraming catastrophe, na pipinsala sa kabuhayan at buhay ng ating mga mamamayan dito sa mundong ating tinitigilan,” he warned.

In a landmark report in August last year, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted human activities have already pushed global temperatures up by 1.1 degrees Celsius from its pre-industrial average with less than 20 years away from the 1.5-degree threshold.

“Kaya malakas ngayon ang panawagan ngayon sa buong mundo na dapat ay labanan yung climate crisis at manawagan ng climate justice ang mga bansang tulad ng Pilipinas doon sa mga bansang mayayamang bansa o kapitalistang bansa na siyang may dulot o mas malaking kontribusyon sa pag-eemit ng carbon dioxide dahil dun sa pag-iindustrialize o paggamit ng maraming fossil fuel o pagsunog ng maraming fossil fuel, lalo na yung coal,” he said.

“Dapat sila ay magbayad doon sa mga third world na hindi naman masyado nag-eemit ng carbon dioxide dahil hindi pa naman sila industrialized pero apektado siya dahil sinakop ng mga mayayamang bansa yung space na dapat ay para sa Third World. Kung sinakop nila, at nabibiktima na rin tayo, napipinsala na rin dahil sa epekto ng mabilis na pag-init ng mundo ay dapat nilang bayaran o panagutan o mag-compensate sila doon sa mga mahihirap na bansa,” he added.

De Guzman said the Philippines are among the countries experiencing the severe effects of climate change, citing Typhoon Yolanda as an example of stronger hurricanes and typhoons as a result of warmer global temperatures.

The labor leader pointed out that the world was only 0.8 degree Celsius warmer when Yolanda struck central Philippines leaving thousands dead and a trail of destruction across its path.

De Guzman said the money the Philippines could get from richer countries could be used to do our share in reforestation, recycling and phasing out coal-fired power plants, which he called the dirtiest source of energy.

The presidential candidate lamented that despite a 2008 law, the shift to renewable energy has yet to be implemented with the Philippines still heavily reliant on coal and fossil fuels.

President Rodrigo Duterte, at the start of his term, initially ordered the Department of Energy to expedite the shift to renewable energy. But by June 2017, he signed an executive order creating an Energy Investment Coordinating Council that would expedite the construction of coal-fired power plants in the country in a bid to provide sufficient electricity capacity.

Duterte also initially banned mining, particularly open-pit mining, only to reverse towards the tailend of his term.

De Guzman, whose pro-labor platform also focuses on the economy, the environment and health, said economic recovery is useless if not coupled with a desire to address the climate emergency. 

He blamed the profit- and business-driven government for neglecting the environment, saying they prioritized monetary gains over conserving the environment.

PROJECT NOAH

If elected, De Guzman vowed to fund Project NOAH or the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards which had been instrumental in mapping out areas prone to flooding, as a means of mitigating environmental catastrophes.

He noted some Filipinos live in vulnerable areas beside the river or on stilts by the sea, which makes them prone to the effects of flooding. 

SANGLEY AIRPORT

The labor leader also called for consultations over the proposed Sangley Point airport project.

“Dapat ay tutulan ng mga mamamayan yan. At ibalik, magkaroon ng konsultasyon. Papano yung mga maaapektuhan? Paano yung sa environment? Dapat magkaroon muna ng pag-uusap doon sa mga stakeholder nang sa ganun ay mailagay sa tamang lugar, mailagay sa tamang context ‘yung mga proyektong gagawin at hindi yung parang sagasa dahil nagkabayaran na, nagkalagayan na kaya obligado na, sino man ang haharang, ay sasagasaan dahil deal na, natapos na, nagkasundo na, nagkapirmahan na, nagkalagayan na kaya aregluhin na lamang yung mga haharang,” he said.

The Cavite government in January last year cancelled the award to China Communications Construction Co (CCCC) and MacroAsia to upgrade the aiport into an international airport supposedly due to deficient documentation.

The cancellation came after it emerged that CCCC was among the Chinese firms blacklisted by the United States for their roles in constructing and militarizing artificial islands in the South China Sea.

Apart from environmental concerns because of the area being prone to flooding, some groups have voiced concerns that Sangley is too close to a military base and could lead the country to China’s debt trap.

But in January this year, the Cavite government accepted the proposal of SPIA Development Consortium, giving it an original proponent status, which means that the consortium could directly negotiate the final terms and conditions of the joint venture with the province as well as the right to match the best counter proposal.

De Guzman clarified he is not against the Sangley airport project, but called on the government to respect the rights of stakeholders.

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