Batangas City, Philippines – Early this morning, Filipino climate activists on kayaks blocked access to the Shell import terminal. Along with 29 activists from Greenpeace International and Greenpeace Southeast Asia, including its Executive Director Yeb Saño, they closed in on two jetties from different locations, affecting the operations of Shell’s facility managing the import of fossil fuels.
A large banner reading “Make Climate Polluters Pay” above a large black hand in the “stop” gesture was also unfurled on the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior vessel. The activists are calling on the Philippines’ President Ferdinand Marcos Jr and world governments to make Shell and other fossil fuel companies pay for losses and damages experienced by impacted communities.
“My hometown Tacloban was destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan ten years ago, and I’m just one of the millions of Filipinos who have seen firsthand the damage caused by climate change,” Yeb Saño said.
“Companies like Shell are making billions off the fossil fuels that are driving the climate crisis, while communities in countries like ours pay the price. The fossil fuel companies most responsible for the climate crisis have become rich by exploiting people and the planet. Governments should make them pay for the damage their operations cause.”
The action is happening on the eve of COP28 taking place in Dubai, in which it was recently reported that the UAE planned to use the event to make oil and gas deals. It also comes just weeks after Shell UK launched an intimidation lawsuit against Greenpeace UK and Greenpeace International, demanding they stop protests at its infrastructure at sea or in port anywhere in the world, forever, or face an US$8.6 million damages claim and an injunction.
The lawsuit is Shell’s response to a peaceful protest by Greenpeace International in late January in which activists occupied a moving oil platform to protest against the climate change loss and damage caused by Shell. Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director Yeb Saño is among the activists individually named in Shell’s legal claim due to his involvement in the action earlier this year.
“I am here, joining a protest like this for the first time, to take a stand for my children. The climate crisis has left us living in fear of the next catastrophe, and is the biggest threat to our future. By continuing to destroy our climate, companies like Shell are robbing us of our dreams and aspirations, our chance at having a safe, dignified life—and I can no longer allow them to do this,” said Roselle Redelicia, a Filipino activist.
Recently, there have been initiatives in the Philippines to ensure that climate justice and accountability mechanisms will be in place. These include the world’s first climate impacts accountability bill filed in the Philippine congress, as well as a landmark resolution filed by a municipality impacted by Super Typhoon Haiyan signifying their intent to take oil and gas companies to court.
“Communities in countries like the Philippines are demanding loss and damage financing at COP28 to have a fighting chance against escalating climate impacts. This financing must include payments from fossil fuel companies. Beyond the climate negotiations, governments must ensure access to climate justice by urgently pursuing all avenues to make these big polluters pay, such as through legislating corporate accountability and payment for climate impacts, and by taking these companies to court,” Greenpeace Philippines Campaigner Jefferson Chua said.
The Rainbow Warrior recently visited climate survivor communities around the Philippines to amplify their calls for climate reparations. The ship was in Tacloban City for the 10th anniversary of Super Typhoon Haiyan to pay tribute to the courage of survivors, and amplify their demand for corporate accountability.
Photos and videos of the blockade will be uploaded on the Greenpeace Media Library.
Karl Orit, Greenpeace Philippines Communications Campaigner: [email protected], +63 9194571064
Greenpeace International Press Desk: [email protected], +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)
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