Legarda Hopes PNoy’s Last SONA Would Include Climate Change Agenda

July 26, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda today said that among the issues she hopes President Benigno Aquino III will mention in his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) is the country’s commitment to combat climate change.

“President Aquino’s last year in the presidency is crucial as it will define the benchmark for his predecessor. Climate change is a defining political issue because it means livelihood, jobs, homes, and our very survival. Our vulnerability to climate and disaster risks should make us even more committed to work towards addressing these challenges. I hope the President would explain how the government is working towards an economy that is climate-adaptive, disaster-resilient, environment-friendly, sustainable and inclusive,” said Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Environment and Natural Resources, and Climate Change.

“It would be ideal if the President says the government will strongly implement environmental laws, such as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (Republic Act 9003) and not promote incineration such as waste-to-energy technologies that employ burning to recover energy; as well as the Renewable Energy Act (RA 9513) to lessen our dependence on coal and increase investments on renewable energy,” she added.

The Senator said that even though the Philippines only contributes 0.3 percent of carbon emissions in the world, it is greatly vulnerable to climate change which has made natural hazards stronger and more frequent.

“Our vulnerability to climate change, a phenomenon we did not cause, gives us the right to call on other nations to drastically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. But the Philippines is contradicting itself when it says it wants a strong agreement in climate change yet is allowing the proliferation of new coal power plants. Effectively, by such proliferation we are contributing to our own destruction and we lose the high moral ground as we call on other parties to reduce emissions,” said Legarda, noting that in the past five years alone, at least 21 coal-fired power plant projects, which are either operational, non-operational or under construction, were granted an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).

“The President’s commitment and action to combat climate change will make a difference, maybe not be felt today, but as a legacy that the future generations of Filipinos will greatly thank him for,” Legarda concluded.