MANILA — President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. on Thursday expressed his gratitude to diplomats for their countries' efforts in mitigating the climate crisis, saying the Philippines is at the forefront of its impact.
During the traditional vin d'honneur, held at the National Museum where he took his oath of office, the country's 17th leader stressed the importance of several nations' cause against climate change.
"I am especially struck by the importance that all of your countries have come to put on climate change. I believe that it was unanimous, all the ambassadors, all the representatives from the different countries who I have met with have each made offers of help in terms of mitigation and adaptation to climate change," Marcos said.
"As I mentioned in my speech it is something that is terribly important simply because for the Philippines, we are very much in the most vulnerable position compared to many other countries," he added.
During his inaugural address hours earlier, the 64-year-old criticized the "rich world" for doing less about climate mitigation while smaller countries have "suffered more death and destruction from climate change and lack of adaptation."
He also emphasized the need to clean up beaches amid the worsening plastic pollution in the country. Philippines is the third-largest plastic polluter in the world's oceans, a study last year found.
The Climate Change Commission had said natural disasters in the Philippines caused P506 billion in economic losses during the past decade alone.
A new study recently released by the United Nations' (UN) climate experts, warning about a catastrophic climate change by 2025 if carbon emission levels remain unchanged.
PAGASA's climate center, meanwhile, last 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 increase.
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.
Meanwhile, Marcos said alliances with other governments, would help "strengthen" the country's pandemic recovery.
He ended his speech by telling the importance of beginning his administration by working on partnerships.
"I cannot think of a better beginning to a new administration than to be able to have determined the partnerships and strengthen the relationships between our countries. And, that is something that we will work with very, very clearly," he said.
"We have seen and it has been proven to us very clearly in the past weeks and months how interconnected the world is now, how interconnected the economies are, how interconnected political systems are, how interconnected even our cultural and educational relationships are. We can only go from here to strength, and to strength and to strength."