'Ako na pupunta': Duterte says he wants to attend next climate change meet

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 24 2022 11:33 AM | Updated as of May 24 2022 02:45 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with key government officials at the Malacañan Palace on May 23, 2022. Valerie Escalera, Presidential Photo
President Rodrigo Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with key government officials at the Malacañan Palace on May 23, 2022. Valerie Escalera, Presidential Photo

MANILA (UPDATE)— President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night said he wanted to attend the next summit about climate change and call for accountability from bigger nations for their alleged inaction on the crisis. 

Duterte made the remark after Climate Change Commission vice chair Robert Borje discussed how climate change continues to threaten natural resources and negatively impact smaller countries like the Philippines.

"Ako na ang pupunta doon. Ah, hindi, talaga. Ano ba talaga ang gusto ninyo?" the President said in a taped address. 

(I will personally go there. No, really. What do you want?)

"If they maintain their attitude towards this challenging huge task, eh taon-taon tayong babasagin dito sa ano. Now, eh kung mag-ano sila, I said they start to reduce the carbon footprints sa ano nila, eh di gawain nila," he added.

(If they maintain their attitude towards this challenging huge task, then we will always be shattered by—I said they start reducing their carbon footprint. They should do it.) 

"Kung hindi, magpunta ako doon, sabihin ko sa meeting, kung may meeting man, ako na ang magpunta."

(I will go there personally and I'll tell the meeting that.)

Borje said the Stockholm+50, a United Nations-led environmental meet, would be held in Sweden. Based on its website, the event will be held from June 2 to 3, weeks before Duterte leaves Malacañang. 

The Bonn Climate Change Conference is slated days after that from June 6 to 16 in Germany. Pre-sessional meetings will take place from May 31 to June 5. 

Duterte asked Borje to "raise hell in the next meeting."

"The problem is wala tayong magawa kasi (the problem is we cannot do anything because) it's the poor guy that really suffers," the President said.

"It’s always the small guy that suffers. The poorer nations kagaya — nandito na tayo sa level na ‘yan or the category that we find ourselves in today at present time," he added, noting that climate pacts should impose sanctions. 

(It's always the poorer nations. We are here in this level or category that we find ourselves in today at present time.)

During the taped address, Borje said natural disasters caused P506 billion in economic losses during the past decade alone. 

"Climate change threatens food security. Ang ating mga farmers ay apektado ang kanilang mga ani. Dahil dito, tataas ang presyo ng ating mga pangunahing bilihin," said Borje. 

(Our farmers' harvests are affected. Because of this, the price of basic commodities continue to rise.)

He also warned of rising sea levels which will immediately affect the archipelago. 

PAGASA's climate center this month said the sea level in the Philippine Sea has already risen to about 12 centimeters or nearly 5 inches in the past 20 years as global temperatures went up.

Experts, the state weather bureau added, have observed the rise of sea levels in the country's eastern portions. This was seen in Cebu, while the highest increase was reported around Manila Bay.

WILL DUTERTE ATTEND MEETING?

Malacañang said it remains to be seen whether or not Duterte was serious about attending one of the climate conferences. 

Acting Palace spokesperson Martin Andanar said the public should wait for the Office of the President's updates on the matter.

"Noong una, sinabi ni Presidente na he was interested. Pero after mag-report ni Sec. Borje ay wala nang napag-usapan," Andanar noted in a press briefing.

(At first, the President said he was interested. But after Sec. Borje's report, no discussion followed.)

"Antayin na lang natin kung ano ang magiging opisyal na pahayag ng Office of the President at kung ano ang orders na ibibigay sa amin kung talagang seryoso siya na pupunta siya doon sa Bonn," he said. 

(Let us wait for the official announcement of the Office of the President and what orders will be given to us should he be serious in attending the conference in Bonn.)

Around 20 tropical cyclones pound the Philippines yearly. 

Filipino green campaigners have expressed concerns about a recent study released by the United Nations' (UN) climate experts, warning of catastrophic climate change by 2025 if carbon emission levels remain unchanged. 

Watch more News on iWantTFC