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In a press briefing days before President Duterte’s SONA, Greenpeace campaigners called for stronger policies that can help reverse the climate and environmental crises facing the country.

Quezon City – The climate emergency should be top priority of the Duterte administration and the 18th Congress, Greenpeace said in a press briefing today ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address on Monday.  The environmental group is calling on the President and lawmakers to steer away from business-as-usual and put climate and environment–together with the well-being of all Filipinos, particularly the most vulnerable–front and center in policy-making in the next three years.

“The Philippines is ground zero when it comes to the climate crisis. Our country’s environmental support systems are breaking down,” said Greenpeace Philippines country director Lea Guerrero. “We need politicians to heed the urgency and implement laws that will enable Filipinos to cope with and demand justice for climate catastrophes, ensure that our environment is intact and free of pollution, and facilitate the massive uptake of clean, renewable energy solutions.”

The Duterte administration took a strong stance against waste importation earlier this year with the return of imported waste from Canada and other countries. Greenpeace said it wanted to see an equally strong stance in similarly pressing issues such as against the expansion of coal energy; the proliferation of plastic waste; the protection of our farmers, consumers and the climate from the negative effects of industrial meat; and the struggle for climate justice for our citizens, especially for those in communities from the most vulnerable sectors.

In terms of shifting to sustainable development, Greenpeace says that the current administration is merely adopting the same policy on coal energy as previous administrations, favoring coal projects, leaving little space for renewable energy–and worse, considering nuclear power as an energy source. Most recently, Greenpeace scored the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for its granting earlier this week of an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) to a proposed 15 megawatt coal plant in Palawan, when RE alternatives abound and are better suited for the island.

“There is still a lot to be desired in terms of political will in pushing for a low carbon society. Share of RE in the country’s energy mix remains small compared to coal and other fossil fuels, with coal dominating at 53 percent. We need a moratorium on the 28 new coal projects, especially in light of the climate emergency. We call on the President and Congress to ensure that the Philippine Energy Plan is reviewed and corrected to better respond to the climate crisis,” said Greenpeace campaigner Khevin Yu.

Aside from fossil fuels, industrial meat is another major source of carbon emissions. Greenpeace is looking to the 18th Congress to introduce a forward-looking policy: adopting programs that promote an ecological farming system; supporting our smallholding farmers; and introducing policies and programs to drive change in dietary habits and consumption patterns, including the establishment of Food Councils that will be responsible for developing and implementing food policies, plans and programs.

With the Philippines consistently ranking among the countries most vulnerable to impacts of the climate emergency, Greenpeace — together with Filipino community representatives and other civil society groups — is calling for accountability from the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies for their role in the climate crisis. Greenpeace campaigner Desiree Llanos Dee said, “We expect our 18th Congress to act with utmost urgency since our citizens are the most at-risk from climate impacts. We need laws to establish clear mechanisms and processes for redressing injustice from climate impacts, and standards for corporate reporting on activities involving carbon emissions.”

“Today’s politicians have a moral duty to stop the climate emergency.  By instituting stronger policies that can help reverse the climate and environmental crises facing the country today, the 18th Congress can make a lasting positive impact on the lives of Filipinos and succeeding generations,” said Guerrero.

Media Contacts:

Lea Guerrero, Country Director, Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines
lea.guerrero@greenpeace.org | +63 908 885 1140

Khevin Yu, Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines
khevin.yu@greenpeace.org | +63 917 521 3356,

Virginia Benosa-Llorin, Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines
vbllorin@greenpeace.org | +63 917 822 8793

Desiree Llanos Dee, Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines
desiree.llanosdee@greenpeace.org | +63 998 595 9733

JP Agcaoili, Communications Manager, Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines
jp.agcaoili@greenpeace.org | +63 949 889 1334