MANILA — Environmental group Greenpeace Philippines on Monday reiterated its call for President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a climate emergency as Typhoon Rolly devastated Bicol region and other areas.
“Typhoon Rolly is not the strongest typhoon to sweep through the Philippines, nor will it be the last--there will be more, and they will most likely be worse,” Greenpeace Philippines campaigner Virginia Llorin said in a statement.
“Now is the time for the Philippine government to show true climate leadership by championing climate justice for the poorest of the poor who bear the brunt of the damage, and calling for accountability from industrialized nations as well as corporations most responsible for the climate crisis,” she added.
The group cited reports of the typhoon resulting in the deaths of at least 10 people and the burying of 300 houses in Albay.
It said declaring a climate emergency in the Philippines would “strengthen an urgent whole-of-government and whole-of-society mobilization to respond to the climate crisis at the scale and speed needed to address it and protect the Filipino people.”
Extreme weather events are among the things linked to climate change and worsening global warming.
Greenpeace said the climate emergency declaration of the Philippines, which is among the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world, should call on the international community to act "with the same urgency and scale, and demand equity from governments and accountability from corporations for the sake of countries that are least responsible but face the most vulnerabilities.”
The group said the Philippine government can use the pandemic response as an opportunity to come up with a strong climate action that could address intersecting crises faced by the country.
Other issues that must be addressed by the climate emergency declaration, the group said, is holding fossil fuel and cement companies responsible for human-induced carbon emissions.
More than 50 of these companies are already the subject of a climate change inquiry of the Commission of Human Rights of the Philippines regarding their responsibility for human rights harms to Filipinos caused by climate impacts.
“The climate crisis is costing Filipino people and communities their lives, livelihoods, health, security, and dignity. We can’t keep counting the dead and the damage after every typhoon forever,” Llorin said. “Studies have shown that major fossil fuels are the ones most responsible for this crisis. It’s time for the Philippines and every Filipino to rise together and hold these companies to account.”