Philippines should remain involved in climate change prevention — CHR

Philippines should remain involved in climate change prevention � CHR
This file photo shows the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
AFP / Patrik Stollarz

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights expressed hopes the government will remain active in climate change prevention despite the Department of Foreign Affairs' decision to stop sending representatives to conferences abroad. 

“The participation of the Philippines in climate change talks ensures that we have a say on the climate discourse, which impacts us greatly. We hope that despite non-attendance, we will remain active in climate change prevention,” CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia said in a statement Friday. 

This comes after Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin announced the country will no longer send official representatives to climate change conferences requiring air travel. 

“Following Duterte's answer to UN's plea for yet another stronger stand against climate change—which he branded as more hot air—I am rejecting all official participation in climate change conferences requiring air travel,” Locsin said on Twitter. 

He added: “We'll just vote Yes to radical proposals. No more talk."

In his speech at the Nikkei International Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo last week, Duterte claimed the UN climate conferences have not done anything to improve the situation and that they are “waste of time and money.”

'Not in vain'

But for CHR, the country's participation in global talks on climate change is “not in vain,” noting how the country led calls to put the global warming threshold at 1.5 degrees celsius at Climate Vulnerable Forum in 2015. This limit was later enshrined in the Paris agreement. 

In 2017, the Senate ratified the Paris Agreement, which aimed to strengthen the country's involvement in climate talks. 

“Participating in the global discourse can also be an avenue to press for greater responsibilty and accountability especially from the primary contributors of global emissions,” De Guia said. 

CHR also said the government should continue its commitment to enact laws and policies that will help prevent climate change and mitigate its impact.

“The future of humanity is at stake and our country is among those that bear the brunt of this global phenomenon. We, therefore, encourage the government to take advantage of all avenues that aim to address the climate problem,” De Guia said. — Philstar.com intern Edelito Mercene Jr. 

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