MANILA, Philippines (23 November 2023) — A bill seeking to establish a legal framework for climate loss and damage accountability—the first such policy in the world—has been filed in the Philippine Congress on Wednesday.
House Representatives Edgar Chatto, Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong, Fernando Cabredo, Anna Victoria Veloso-Tuazon, Christian Tell Yap, and Jose Manuel Alba filed HB 9609 or the Climate Accountability (CLIMA) Act on November 22, 2023, a week ahead of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai. The development was announced today at the roundtable discussion “Climate Change Reparations: A Climate Justice Imperative” at the Bayleaf Hotel in Manila, co-organized by Greenpeace Philippines, the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC), the Climate Action and Human Rights Institute (CAHRI), and the Committee on Climate Change of the House of Representatives.
This is a historic proposed law, as this is the first one globally that opens up the possibility for corporate climate accountability to be recognized by a state, and that provides measures to call for reparations mechanisms.
The bill intends to: institute policies and systems to address climate change; protect communities from climate change-induced losses, damages, and human rights harms; and provide mechanisms for accountability and reparations from those responsible for worsening the climate crisis—including corporate interests such as the fossil fuel industry.
“Ako po ay nagpapasalamat at nalaman ko na may ganitong mungkahing batas na sa Kongreso. Ito ang tamang hakbang na gawin ngayon dahil kailangan na nating pagbayarin ang mga may kagagawan ng mga nangyayari sa atin ngayon. Sana ay pagtulungan ng ating mga kongresista na maipasa ito sa lalong madaling panahon. Ang aming panawagan: Climate justice for all. Pagbayarin ang may sala sa krisis na ito,” said Felisa Castro, a resident of Salcedo, Eastern Samar, and President of Kusog han Kababayen-an han Salcedo Federation (KAKASA).
(I am grateful to know that this bill is now in Congress. This is the right step to take because we need to demand payment from those who are responsible for what is happening to us today. I hope that our Congress passes this bill as soon as possible. Our call: Climate justice for all. Make those who are responsible for this crisis pay.)
“Isang tagumpay para sa atin na naihain na ang CLIMA Bill, dahil sa wakas tayo ay unti-unti nang pinapakinggan dahil sa pinagkaisang boses ng iba’t ibang bulnerableng sektor katulad naming mga kabataan, na nagkaisang lumalaban para sa hustisyang pangklimang ating hinahangad. Mahalaga para sa mga komunidad na bulnerable sa epekto ng mga maruruming industriya—tulad ng mga coal-fired power plant—at ng epekto ng tumitinding krisis pangklima na magkaroon ng batas na poprotekta sa amin at magtutulak sa ating gobyerno na singilin ang pananagutan ng mga malalaking kumpanya sa krisis na ito. Importanteng ating masiguro ang patuloy na pagsulong ng mga ganitong polisiya, dahil ito ay may malaking parte upang maisulong din ang pinapangarap nating ligtas at malinis na kinabukasan,” said Jochelle Magracia, chair of the Young Bataeños for Environmental Advocacy Network (Young BEAN).
(That this bill has been filed is a triumph for us, because this means the collective voice of various vulnerable sectors such as the youth, who are fighting together for climate justice, is slowly being heard. For communities that are vulnerable to the impacts of dirty industries—such as coal-fired power plants—and to the effects of the worsening climate crisis, it is important to have a law that will protect us and push the government to hold to account the big polluters for this crisis. It is important that we ensure policies like this are enacted, because these will play a big part in achieving our dream of a safe and clean future.)
“Corporations have known the impact of their business on the environment for decades, yet they continue to engage in defensive tactics and greenwashing to deflect responsibility for the climate crisis,” said Rep. Chatto. “This is why this legal framework is urgent and necessary, to curb this industry’s unbridled burning of fossil fuels and prevent further harms to the communities our state is mandated to protect.”
If passed, the bill will provide the framework for limiting fossil fuel expansion and aligning their businesses with the Paris Agreement. It will also help facilitate the payment of climate reparations to impacted communities through the establishment of a loss and damage fund.
Organizations such as Greenpeace Philippines and the LRC lauded the filing of this bill, which they believe is an urgent need especially as climate impacts continue to increase in severity.
“This is a welcome development but this is just the start. We must ensure that policies such as this are passed swiftly through Congress and not be watered down by corporate interests,” said Greenpeace campaigner Jefferson Chua. “We are calling on President Marcos Jr. to throw the full support of this administration into making climate accountability a state policy. Beyond this act, however, we are urging the Philippine government to pursue all means available and necessary to hold polluters accountable, and make them pay for their outsized role in the climate crisis.”
“In these times of the climate crisis, this bill is long overdue and a step toward the right direction,” said Atty. Ryan Roset of LRC. “This pioneering pending legislation shifts the burden of the climate crisis to the very entities that cause it, by legislating more stringent due diligence standards on business behavior, and establishing corporate accountability and transparency mechanisms. In addition, the CLIMA bill institutionalizes a loss and damage facility to allow communities to access funds for the harms of climate change on human societies and the environment.”
The Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior is currently in the Philippines for its #ClimateJusticeforAll tour, visiting climate survivor communities around the country to amplify their calls for climate reparations. After visiting Tacloban Leyte and Bohol Province, the ship will be in Manila until November 26 during which it will be open to the public for tours and activities. Greenpeace has also opened the People’s Museum of Climate Justice at the Malate Catholic Church. The museum pays homage to the stories of climate survivors through a poignant collection of objects of memory and art pieces. It will be open to the public until the end of the month Those interested should sign up at act.gp/shiptour2023manila.
Karl Orit, Greenpeace Communications Campaigner
[email protected] | +63 9194571064