This World Bank article was written before Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck the country and caught the Aquino administration clearly unprepared. With thousands of lives and billions of properties permanently vanished and destroyed, and the slow rehabilitation of affected areas, I am now positive that the author of this article is now cynical on this administration’s commitment to address the problem of Climate Change. Simply institutionalizing the Climate Change Commission (CCC) who was tasked to formulate the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) is not enough. This is not enough because in reality, the NCCAP has no power at all because the results of its studies will only be taken as mere advises and recommendations by the government agencies that implement climate change strategies. Even the People’s Survival Plan (PSF), which was anticipated to strengthen the government’s campaign in increasing climate change adaptability, is also prone to corruption because it was designed using pork barrel mechanism.
Considering these realities, below are my three suggestions to genuinely address the climate change issue in the Philippines:
1. We can address climate change by urging our government to discontinue the liberalization of agriculture, mining, and other extractive industries. This will stop to the rapid depletion of natural resources, degradation of environment, and displacement of indigenous and proletariat communities in the country.
2. We can address climate change by urging our government to re-claim important public utilities and industries, such as the energy and transportation sectors, which has been privatized. This will stop the proliferation of destructive energy projects, ranging from coal- generated power plants to land-grabbing renewable energy projects.
3. We can address climate change by choosing pro-people and pro-environment leaders. The first two solutions will adversely affect the ruling elite in the country, only leaders who have genuine desire to serve will have the courage to implement them. Stop electing the same type of leaders who will only promote the interest of profit-driven capitalist and elite.
President Benigno Aquino Jr. delivered a speech full of lies in front of world leaders during the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) Climate Talks in Paris, France last December. This is where he claimed that his administration has improved the disaster risk management in our country and made fictitious promises to address climate change. Indeed, to genuinely address the climate change issue in the Philippines, we must address the root of the crisis first. We need to totally change the system of deceit and corruption that we currently have!