Every year the President of the Republic of the Philippines, opens the resumption of the joint session of the Congress to report on the status of the nation in what we call the State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Early this morning a handful of Greenpeace volunteers and concerned citizens together with Fr. Robert Reyes, Former Representative Nereus Acosta and Former Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary, Bebeth Gozun braved Commonwealth Avenue, in Quezon City all the way to Batasan Pambansa, starting their march from Quezon City Hall, where Fr. Reyes was able to speak about the ‘real state of the nation’ in as far as the water crisis that Metro Manila and nearby provinces in Luzon are experiencing as the Angat Watershed’s dam reached a historical low of 157.55 masl last July 16 despite the rains, triggering interrupted water supply in Metro Manila. Prompting water utility companies to implement a water rationing scheme to address the dwindling volume of water in the reservoir.
Along the way we were met with other groups of various political persuasions, causes, campaigns and ideologies. What can be found to be interesting here is that the number of us marching for clean water and addressing climate change impacts is but insignificant as compared to the sheer crowds that flocked the way to Batasan Pambansa –in a way giving us an idea about how far we are still in the struggle for clean water and the need to protect and conserve the remaining water supply.
Our march ended when we were finally able to reach Barangay Batasan Hills as we were forced to stop right before St. Peter Parish as the Philippine National Police has blocked it with barbed wires and container vans in order to prevent the growing number of protestors from the groups that will be marching later in the afternoon from reaching Batasang Pambansa.
For our part Greenpeace is demanding that the administration of President Noynoy Aquino take immediate steps to address the climate impacts that are now affecting the Philippines every year. Climate change is undoubtedly the biggest challenge the Philippines faces today, and the vulnerability of our water resources to this phenomenon is a reality that can no longer be ignored. We hope that P-Noy’s SONA message will sound the alarm and catalyze genuine climate action and protection for our fresh water sources.