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President Bets: The environmental agenda must be more than disaster response
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President Bets: The environmental agenda must be more than disaster response

Gaea Katreena Cabico –

January 24, 2022 at 10:24am| 10:24am

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential aspirants must present a meaningful and transformative agenda on addressing the climate and environmental crises, Greenpeace Philippines said, as the impacts of a warming planet have been increasingly felt in recent years.

Lea Guerrero, Greenpeace Philippines’ country director, criticized the insufficient discussion on climate and environmental issues during the election season. She was particularly critical of the fight for climate justice.

“This reflects the lack of ambitious plans in candidates’ platforms that would protect Filipinos from worsening climate impacts,” Guerrero said.

Following “The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews”, Greenpeace Philippines released the statement. The presidential bets briefly covered building back better through climate resilience, transitioning to renewable energy and planting more trees.

“In the interviews, climate and environmental issues were addressed within the frame of disaster response, rather than systemic solutions that would address the problems at root,” Guerrero said.

She stated that the next president must advocate for the rights of the Filipino communities, including securing a just future for the youth.

“Instead of merely being reactive to the climate crisis, they must prioritize urgent, long-term, and systemic climate action, including following through with climate emergency declaration and expediting the country’s transition to renewable energy.” 

Guerrero also called for presidential bets to demand accountability of fossil fuel corporations, wealthy nations, as well as stand for “inclusive transparent and inspired models” of governance.

The Philippines is among the most affected by climate change-induced disasters. Scientists warned that some effects of climate change are irreversible for centuries and millennia.

What were the results of presidential bets?

Vice President Leni Robredo, Sens.Panfilo Lacson and Manny Pacquiao, and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso attended the program hosted by award-winning journalist Jessica Soho on Saturday.

They were asked about how they plan to prepare the country for disasters and reduce their impact.

Robredo stressed the need to “build back better” through climate-resilient infrastructure.

“We must ensure that houses will be storm resilient… If we build evacuation centers, we will ensure that these structures will not be damaged every time a storm hits the country so the loss of lives and property will be lessened,” she said in Filipino.

Pacquiao called on the protection of the environment by planting more trees and being “clean, green.”

Domagoso indicated that he would acquire more technology and equipment if he is elected to the presidency. He also said he would build facilities that can house people during natural disasters.

Lacson spoke of the small contribution of the Philippines in climate change globally, the climate talks in Glasgow last year and renewable energy.

“But then we’re still a part of an international community of nations and we can do our share,” he said.

Labor leader Leody De Guzman, who was not invited to the presidential interviews, has climate response in his platform and favors a push for renewable energy. 

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