The Philippines ranked fifth in countries most affected by climate change this year, according to the Global Climate Change Index. We have experienced drastic changes in temperature and rainfall patterns since the year 2000. Of the ten deadliest storms ever to hit the country, five of them occurred from 2006 onwards, with Supertyphoon Yolanda, one of the strongest storms on record worldwide, claiming more than 6000 lives. Climate change also worsened the effects of the El Nino phenomenon in 2015 and 2016, affecting almost 30 provinces and millions of lives and costing at least PhP4 billion in damages to crops and other agricultural produce.
The country’s vulnerability to climate change is worsened by crushing poverty. Government policies have also proved ineffective in mitigating climate change and its devastating effects. 11.2 million Filipinos remain jobless while 15 million people continue to go hungry. The government continues to rely on coal as one our main energy sources while large-scale destructive mining and logging companies continue to reduce forest cover and poison our waters with impunity. Giant agricorporations remain dominant in the agriculture sector, using processes and methods deemed unsustainable and non-environment friendy. The public transportation system is a mess while automobile companies continue to rake in millions in profits selling private cars that severely contribute to carbon gas emissions. Ever-increasing profit is pocketed by companies while the Duterte administration flipflops on resolving the climate crisis in his own backyard.
Climate change is real. The climate crisis is getting worse. It is something that we must face and resolve now and in the years to come or face untold hardships in the future. It is high time to change this profit-oriented political and socio-economic system into one that is people-centered, pro-environment and sustainable. We urge everyone to link hands and contribute to the struggle for climate justice and environmental rights. Today, as we commemorate Earth Day 2017, let our voices be heard.
Climate Justice Now!
System Change Not Climate Change!
Stop Corporate Plunder of Natural Resources and Destruction of the Environment! Advance Science and Technology for the Environment and for the People!
Ms. Belna Cabasan
Climate Change Network for Community-based Initiatives (CCNCI)