In a span of three weeks, the Philippines has been hit by five tropical cyclones, including Goni, the strongest typhoon recorded for 2020. It has left communities throughout the country battered by strong winds, torrential rainfall, and immense flooding before they can even recover from the previous storm, not to mention the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is an unfortunate reality that the Philippines, one of the countries at highest risk to the climate crisis, can expect moving forward in the absence of transformative actions. It is yet another in a growing list of reminders that the loss and damage inflicted on vulnerable countries by the manifestations of the climate crisis are disproportionately experienced by marginalized sectors and poor communities.
The climate debt must be paid in full. We call on the Philippine government to hold industrialized nations accountable for their significant roles in causing the climate crisis. No country can address this crisis on its own, which is why we need them to continue actively championing the advocacy for climate justice that our country needs in international negotiations and forums.
We also urge the national government to hold corporations accountable for emitting a vast majority of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions that allow them to continue to profit at the expense of planetary and human health.
This does not mean that national and local government officials who showed negligence of duty at a time of emergency should escape liability for their actions. There should be no room for politicking, misinformation, and insensitivity during times of crisis, when the well-being of millions of Filipinos are of paramount importance. We demand that the Philippine government allocate more attention, resources, and manpower towards strengthening climate change adaptation and mitigation policies and measures towards decarbonizing the economy and sustainable development, where no one is truly left behind.
The glorification of resilience must stop now. It is time for genuine climate action. How many more Filipinos need to suffer before you figure it out?