Aksyon Klima Pilipinas is saddened to hear the passing of Chito Gascon, Chairperson of the Commission of Human Rights. He showed exceptional leadership in his decades of public service, especially as a champion of human rights in the Philippines. He led the agency in conducting the National Inquiry on Climate Change, a landmark investigation on corporate accountability for causing the climate crisis. Indeed, he was a champion for human rights and climate justice.
Gascon was a staunch advocate for peace and justice, moreso during eras when human rights are being violated with more frequency and lesser restraint. He showed courage and honor in standing up against oppression and injustices, in the context of the climate crisis or otherwise. He was a man worthy of the positions he held, a reality that is becoming rarer and should inspire others to do the same.
His untimely passing is another reminder of the urgency of addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, a health crisis caused by environmental neglect and whose already-devastating impacts would pale in comparison to that of the climate crisis is left properly unattended. May he rest in peace.