Rody cool to climate agreement

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines need not follow the rules of “imperialists” by abiding with the Paris Agreement on climate change, President Duterte said.

Speaking before businessmen in Davao City last Friday – his 100th day in office – Duterte stressed it is unfair for the country to be subjected to limitations on carbon emissions when it has not yet maximized its industrial potentials.

He said he would further open the country to mining and the manufacturing sectors to boost the economy.

“They cannot go higher than what we have now. And yet we Third World countries are trying to catch up and we are stymied not only by the cartels but also by the refusal of these industrial countries to understand,” the President said.

He said developed countries are curtailing the Philippines’ industrialization bid through restrictions on carbon emissions.

In the face of growing competition among industries, Duterte said he is betting on agriculture and mining to help the country in its industrialization effort.

“It’s a highly competitive world today and everybody is into the business of money and that is why there is a lot of competition going on,” he said. ?

“Maybe, just maybe, the Philippines will make it big in the agricultural area. Within the span of the next 30 years, three decades, I don’t see any rising of the new industrial sector, probably the new industrial sector. It’s too tight,” Duterte said.

“The resources are committed already and besides, we lag behind in the money business. But what would make the industry valuable? Agriculture is actually  (viable in) Mindanao and only in Mindanao,” he said.

Duterte expressed his opinion after a coalition of the world’s largest polluters and small island nations threatened by rising seas pushed for the immediate implementation of the landmark Paris Agreement.

President Obama hailed the news as a “turning point for our planet” while UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon called the agreement’s strong international support as a “testament for the urgency of action,” reports said.  

“We want to reach what they have achieved. But then again there are so many things, so they said it’s the emission, carbon footprint, you cannot go beyond this, but then again if you go around the Philippines you have to go by the hundreds of kilometers before you see any factory,” Duterte said.

The Paris Agreement commits rich and poor countries to take action to curb the rise in global temperatures, which is melting glaciers, raising sea levels and shifting rainfall patterns.

It requires governments to present national plans to reduce emissions to limit global temperature rise to well below two degrees Celsius.

While the targets in the agreement are not legally binding, the treaty does require countries to report on emissions and their progress in reaching the goals in the national climate plans they submitted to the UN.

The accord was adopted by consensus on Dec. 12, 2015.

The President said the developed countries were imperialists, which took advantage of their old colonies to achieve “unbridled, unimpeded” progress.

Ratify now

Meanwhile, Sen. Loren Legarda has renewed her call for the immediate ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the Philippines’ membership in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

At the hearing on the Department of Foreign Affairs’ proposed P16.63-billion budget for 2017, Legarda – chair of the Senate finance and climate change committees – prodded DFA Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. to ratify as soon as possible the two accords.

Yasay assured the committee the DFA was working on the immediate ratification and submission to the Senate.

Legarda said while the Philippines is a founding member of the AIIB, it has yet to formalize its membership pending ratification.

“It will be good for our country and for our diplomatic relations with China if we are able to ratify the AIIB Treaty before the President’s visit to China this month,” the senator said.

As a member of the AIIB, the Philippines will be able to access funds for vital infrastructure projects, she said.

She said the treaty must be ratified within the year since the P4-billion initial contribution of the Philippines to the AIIB has been included in the proposed 2017 budget of the Department of Finance.

“We have already earmarked the funds for our contribution to the AIIB, but if the treaty is not ratified soon, we will have to delete it from the budget,” she said.

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