by Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star), 20 Nov 2020
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Finance (DOF) has joined the call for climate justice, saying that the Philippines continues to bear the brunt of the impact of climate change despite being among the world’s lowest carbon emitters.
During the celebration of the 13th Climate Change Consciousness Week, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez urged the Climate Change Commission (CCC) to help the Philippines pursue climate justice from the international community.
“The Philippines is definitely not one of the world’s heaviest emitters of greenhouse gases, but it is undoubtedly among the most vulnerable to their harmful effect,” he said.
Dominguez said the series of typhoons and floods that hit the country in recent months, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, underscore the urgency and complexity of the CCC’s tasks.
“Even as we transition to more sustainable economic activities domestically, the Philippines must sustain calls for broader climate justice. President Duterte has already led the way. We in government must stand firmly behind the President in this fight,” he said.
Over the past two months, five typhoons have entered the Philippine area of responsibility, wreaking havoc in 12 regions in the country.
Amid the devastation brought about by Typhoon Ulysses, Duterte last week made a call demanding climate justice from the international community, urging developed nations to cut their carbon emissions to battle the effects of climate change.
Dominguez said severe weather conditions inflict human, social and economic costs on Filipinos.
“We lose billions every year in damage to crops and infrastructure. These mounting losses dampen our overall economic progress. These costs will continue to accumulate unless we move fast on mitigation measures,” he said.
The finance chief then challenged the CCC to become more aggressive in their advocacy to protect the environment.
“It should advance concrete policy proposals while building public awareness and public support,” Dominguez said.
He said the government can address climate emergency by adopting a more informed approach, and harmonizing national and local strategies for disaster risk mitigation, reduction and sustainable development.
“We must deploy financial tools to build resiliency from the household to the national levels. We must widen the inclusivity of our financial system to mobilize investment and protect families,” the DOF chief said.
Moreover, Dominguez said the government must promote investments in renewable energy, sustainable urban planning and climate-smart agriculture as part of its economic recovery programs.
He said the country’s disaster risk reduction strategy should include the restoration and conservation of forests, and changes in agroforestry policies to prevent the clearing of mountain slopes to make way for agriculture.
“The Philippines is well-positioned to make a difference in this battle against the climate crisis. Let us work hand in hand to achieve a new, low carbon economy and a greener future for all,” he said.