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Climate and Environment

CHR: Vote for candidates who will advance climate action

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
CHR: Vote for candidates who will advance climate action
An individual drops a letter for candidates of 2022 presidential elections on April 17, 2022 as part of Greenpeace Philippines' Love, 52 youth and elections campaign.
Basilio Sepe/Greenpeace

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights called on Filipino voters to consider the climate positions of candidates in the high-stakes elections before they cast their ballots on Monday.

In a landmark report that declared climate change as a human rights issue, the commission called on people to elect responsible leaders that will champion climate action.

“We are suggesting perhaps it’s about time for them to consider the positions of politicians on climate change when determining [their candidates],” former CHR commissioner Roberto Cadiz said Friday. Cadiz, who led the inquiry, ended his term Thursday.

The report was released three days before the 2022 polls.

In the report, CHR stressed that “individual efforts will be for naught if those in power or those who make and influence policies are blind to the plight of the planet.”

“Everyone must exercise their right to vote in favor of those who will champion the fundamental human rights of present and future generations to live with dignity in a home safe from the grave and fatal impacts of climate change,” it added.

Faced with catastrophic cyclones and sea level rise, the Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of human-induced climate change, which disproportionately affect the poor.

Climate change, however, has been largely missing from the election campaign. Candidates’ plans to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change were rarely included in debates, interviews and speeches.

Winners in the May polls will steer the direction of the country's policy during the crucial window to address climate change. 

Act on report's recommendation

The 160-page report provided recommendations to the Philippine government, states, carbon majors, United Nations and other international bodies, and courts.

The commission’s recommendations to the country include formulating a national action plan on business and human rights, declaring a climate and environment alert, revisiting the nation’s climate commitments, leading the transition to renewable energy, and amending the Climate Change Act.

Kalikasan People’s Network said the CHR report sets the tone for the next administration’s gargantuan tasks, which include demanding climate justice and enacting a law imposing corporate liabilities for human rights violations related to climate change.

“The ball is now in the hands of the next administration to act on the report’s recommendations,” it said.

The next step forward is for the incoming government to implement genuine climate action, Greenpeace also said.

“The decision comes at a time when the Filipinos are about their new leaders, whose first order of business should be protecting the people from the impacts of the worsening climate crisis, heeding the communities’ call for accountability from the fossil fuel industry, and strengthening democratic processes and institutions,” Greenpeace campaigner Virginia Llorin said.

According to a report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released in March, time had nearly run out to ensure a liveable and sustainable future for all. 

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