Why Dingdong Dantes left his newborn daughter behind for Paris
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - December 1, 2015 - 2:36am

PARIS – Fathers do not usually attend work-related events abroad immediately after their wives give birth. But it was not the case for actor and National Youth Commission commissioner Jose Sixto “Dingdong” Dantes.

Dantes is in this city to attend the climate talks, leaving behind his wife, actress Marian Rivera, who just gave birth to their first daughter Maria Letizia last Nov. 23.

So what prompted him to assume his role as representative of the youth at a time when he is very much needed as a father?

For Dantes, his participation at the climate meet is about the future of his daughter.

“I come from an archipelago that knows an average of 22 typhoons a year. On paper, I am a commissioner representing the youth of the Philippines, but in my heart I feel like I’m really just representing my daughter, Maria Letizia,” he told members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum on Monday.

“If you here are first time parents as well, you know that I really shouldn’t have left her or her mother’s side at this time even for a single minute. Yet, here I am. I am here because when I represent Maria Letizia, I represent the world,” he added.  

“You are all also here for yours—your sons and daughters—and for those still without, the children you are about to bear, if fate bestows you.”

The Philippines is one of the countries facing high risks because of changes in the climate. It is one of the five countries that experienced the biggest number of weather-related disasters since 1995, according to a recent report by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Another report by the United Nations Children’s Fund warned that children would bear the brunt of climate change because about 530 million of them reside in flood-prone areas and 160 million others are in drought severity zones.

Dantes said young people have an important role in spreading awareness about climate change, which has been blamed for natural disasters and extreme weather conditions.

He cited the launching of #NOWPH last year, which aims to promote vigilance for the care of the planet.  

NOW, which stands for “Not on our Watch,” uses the Internet to encourage various sectors do their share in addressing climate change in a country known as the social media capital of the world.  

Dantes said while there have been debates on whether to limit the global warming to below two degrees Celsius or 1.5 degrees, the heart of the issue is about caring for the planet regardless of race, color, stature or capacity.

“To choose to be involved and to get people involved is certainly the greatest contribution we can make in addressing the common problems we face in our common world. With a reach of 221 million social media impressions, and 3.6 million total pledges, please listen to all these voices saying NOW,” he said.


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