Rody sets Cabinet meeting on climate change

Jess Diaz - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte has scheduled a Cabinet meeting on climate change after the ongoing conference on the subject in Marrakech, Morocco, a Cabinet official said yesterday.        

Former Kabataan party-list representative Terry Ridon, whom Duterte appointed as chairman of the Presidential Commission for Urban Poor, said a delegation led by Environment Secretary Regina Lopez attended the conference.        

Ridon said he would be joining the group this weekend. “We will be there up to next week. After that, Secretary Lopez will report to the President and the Cabinet,” he said.        

He added the country’s commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change would be discussed in the Cabinet meeting.       

“Such commitments could still be calibrated even though the President has apparently already decided to sign the Paris Agreement document,” Ridon said.        

Duterte initially rejected the accord, saying it would make it difficult for the Philippines to industrialize, but the Cabinet convinced him to change his mind, arguing that it would benefit the country.        

Meanwhile, Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte is suggesting the imposition of what he calls “carbon tax” to discourage factories, companies and other business establishments from polluting the environment.        

He said the levy could be part of the government’s multi-year tax program, the first package of which was endorsed to the Senate and the House of Representatives last month.   

For his part, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, who is from Davao City, appealed to the President to rethink his turnaround on not honoring the Paris Agreement.

He said he agreed with Duterte that the accord on climate change would make it hard for the administration to attain “national industrialization” because of the impact industries would have on climate change.

Zarate said the country could industrialize while addressing climate change issues.

He said the Paris accord was unfair to small and developing nations like the Philippines but lenient on developed countries.

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