QUEZON CITY, Philippines—Greenpeace believes that President Marcos Jr.’s 2023 State of the Nation Address (SONA) did not accurately reflect the real state of the nation, painting a naively positive outlook for the country that fails to consider much needed action to address the serious and urgent challenges posed by the climate crisis that is now compounded by a severe El Niño.
On the climate agenda and disaster response:
“The fact that Marcos Jr. was proud of the country being ‘over-prepared’ in response to natural disasters shows a lack of awareness of the reality on the ground. When people and the local economies suffer after every major typhoon, that is not preparedness. Data also shows that much of our coastal cities stand to lose billions from sea level rise. We have yet to see a clear government plan to address these climate impacts.
The IPCC itself in its 6th Assessment report said that the world is not prepared for the projected impacts of the climate crisis, and this is even more true for developing countries like the Philippines. Climate impacts will leave the poorest behind and we will not have adequate resources to address this vicious cycle of disaster, response and recovery.
Moreover, Marcos’ economic and technological approach to climate change benefits corporations and private interests more than it does the Filipino people—especially the most vulnerable communities. The climate crisis demands a genuine whole-of-society approach, one that ensures that historically marginalized and oppressed sectors are given their due.
We reiterate our demand for President Marcos Jr. to call on the world’s historical climate polluters—oil and gas companies—to take responsibility for climate impacts, and to make them pay reparations for their contributions to the climate crisis. This is something that he has failed to mention at all in his past two SONAs.” — Jefferson Chua, Greenpeace campaigner
On El Niño:
“El Niño bears the thumbprint of climate change, and Marcos Jr. neglected to afford the urgency and importance both of these issues need. His agenda is marred by band-aid solutions and lacks a holistic approach to address this phenomenon, especially on how he expects people in different localities will cope with the impacts of El Niño—the potential shortages of water and food, as well as the intense heat and anticipated increase in rainfall.
If anything, this is one of the problems we have to be ‘over-prepared’ for, and we demand a comprehensive plan from our government to deal with not only El Niño, but also the climate crisis as a whole.” — Jefferson Chua, Greenpeace campaigner
On energy priorities:
“A just energy transition should be the government’s main agenda for the energy industry right now, yet it was not given any significance in this year’s SONA.
Instead, he highlighted unambitious renewable energy targets that do little to accelerate the energy transition while sweeping his administration’s regressive coal, fossil gas, and nuclear energy agenda under the rug.Renewable energy does not have a way forward, so long as the government pursues the expansion of new fossil gas projects in Mindanao, and remains silent on phasing out coal, while promoting legislation for nuclear energy that will further divert attention and resources from renewable energy.” — Khevin Yu, Greenpeace campaigner
On circular economy:
“As an emerging market, the Philippines must aim for a slow circular economy. We need to slow both production and consumption, while closing the loop so we no longer have to depend on fossil fuels and other resources being extracted from our planet. To be truly circular, the country must stop the corporate addiction to oil and single-use plastics. The Philippines can be more and be better by skipping destructive practices and shifting to renewable energy and plastic-free reuse systems. To be truly ‘transformative,’ this must be reflected in national programs and policies, and global positions like the Global Plastics Treaty where we should call for a reduction in plastic production and use.” — Marian Ledesma, Greenpeace campaigner
“President Marcos Jr. framed extractives as essential to our economy, but at what cost? Existing contracts for oil and gas exploration in BARMM goes against the recommendations from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report and the Commission on Human Rights’ National Inquiry on Climate Change report to stop all fossil fuel expansion for the sake of the climate. Furthermore, extractive operations will heavily impact surrounding communities, especially indigenous peoples.
These pronouncements show us that this administration isn’t taking our climate commitments seriously, much less how his economic agenda will actually affect the people he claims to serve.” — Jefferson Chua, Greenpeace Campaigner
From the youth:
“Genuine climate action must be pinned on the deep-rooted struggles of the Filipinos and these are lived through by our workforces. We can’t stand a chance when we are ignoring what realities are happening. The President must initiate political willingness, social reforms, and climate justice. We call on our president to be the president that we need amid the climate crisis. We need a leader that acts with urgency. We need climate action now because the choice to fight for climate justice is saying yes to our survival. The choices you make decide whether we and our fellow countrymen will live on a habitable planet or drown in floods and sea level rise. We demand our president, our leaders, to make the right choices for our planet and people.” — Jedryc Romero, Founding Executive Director, KalikaSan Pablo
Link to our previous statement on expectations and calls for SONA 2023, and a projection activity conducted with a community in Barangay Tumana, Marikina City.
Maverick Flores, Communications Campaigner
Greenpeace Philippines | [email protected] | +639176211552