Yolanda survivors want stronger measures vs climate change
Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - December 16, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Yolanda-affected communities in Tacloban criticized the Philippine delegation to the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris for “welcoming” the climate deal “on behalf” of Yolanda survivors. 

Pascualito Ilagan of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ)- Eastern Visayas chapter said they expected the delegation to call for stronger and binding measures that would address the issue of reparations for countries and communities that are vulnerable to climate-related disasters.

“The delegation did wrong in accepting the (climate) deal on behalf of Yolanda survivors and affected communities like us as it is not our demands but those of the culprits behind the climate crisis and those who took advantage of our suffering which were honored in that deal,” Ilagan said.

Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman of the Climate Change Commission called the COP21 deal “a significant stride forward,” praising the inclusion of a “loss and damages” clause in the deal and the inclusion of “human rights as its bedrock principle.”

He said the document was “an essentially acceptable accord.”

But Ilagan said that while the deal had references to loss and damages, the pronouncements absolved top polluting countries of any responsibility or accountability in climate disasters. 

“After Yolanda, help from people of other nations poured in. While we have welcomed and accepted such aid, those who were truly behind the continuing destruction of the climate got away without having to pay us reparations,” Ilagan claimed.

He also criticized the Philippine government for parading as a champion of Yolanda survivors while facilitating the “corporate-capture” of rehabilitation which, he said, led to massive displacement and more loss of livelihood for communities.

“Who are they to claim that they represent our position when they have allowed companies to profit from our misery?” Ilagan said.

PMCJ national coordinator Gerry Arances claimed that “the Yolanda experience has been used as a stepping stone for many politicians, including those in Paris, to forward their own agenda, and yet the people who actually experienced it are at the losing end.”        

He believes that “while there have been many references to vulnerable peoples in the climate talks, the deal is insufficient in averting more Yolandas in the future.”

ACIRC AFTER YOLANDA BUT ILAGAN CLIMATE CLIMATE JUSTICE CONFERENCE OF PARTIES DEAL GUZMAN OF THE CLIMATE CHANGE COMMISSION ILAGAN NBSP YOLANDA
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