Community Leaders declare Climate Emergency Communities from Greater Manila Area

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To ensure that another Typhoon Ondoy will not happen again, community leaders from NCR and Greater Manila Area gathered in Brgy. Tatalon, Quezon City to declare People’s Climate Emergency, and to ask action from the government on Peoples’ Urgent Demands on climate change.

“Ten years ago, in the aftermath of Typhoons Pepeng and Ondoy, the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) initiated consultations and assembled which led to the creation of the Peoples’ Urgent Demands,” said PMCJ National Coordinator Ian Rivera. “This is a comprehensive list of necessary actions needed by marginalized sectors such as farmers, fisherfolk, women, indigenous peoples, and the urban poor, covering various climate-related issues.”

Rivera urged the administration to heed the calls of marginalized sectors in light of the worsening state of the climate. “Not only are these sectors the most vulnerable to the risks posed by climate change, they are often at the receiving end of projects and policies which exacerbate their vulnerabilities,” he added.

Communities and sectoral leaders who were affected by Ondoy ten years ago recounted their struggles during the typhoon and its aftermath.

“We can no longer wait for the President to declare a climate emergency. It is already a climate emergency,” said Tita Flor Assidao-Santos, Chairperson of the Metro Manila Vendors Alliance (MMVA). “What we need from the government is to act on our specific demands so that we have a fighting chance against this crisis.”

“In the ten years that passed since Ondoy, the situation of farmers have worsened instead of improved in light of realizations about climate change,” said Val Vibal of the Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA). “Aside from the storms and droughts we have to endure, we also have to cope with land conversions, mining operations, as well as the recent rice tariffication law.”

“Farmers are being killed by both climate change and government inaction,” said Vibal. “If we do not assert our demands, we will continue to be subject to ‘climate change’ policies which do not truly cater to our needs, and actually worsen our plight,” he continued.

Among the demands pushed for by the groups are reparations from industrialized countries for the disasters caused by the changing climate, including Typhoon Ondoy and the many other typhoons which followed it.

“Climate justice demands that those who are more responsible for the crisis because of their historical emissions foot the bill for developing countries who are experiencing the consequences of their actions,” said Sanlakas Secretary-General Atty. Aaron Pedrosa.

“We do not need aid or loans, we need reparations. We need justice,” said Pedrosa. “Now more than ever, as the movement calling for climate action continues to grow, we need to remember the lessons we have learned from the past, so that justice will not be denied those who have suffered and continue to suffer the most,” he continued.

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