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100 Days After, vulnerable sectors urge P-Noy to act on climate change

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After allowing the new President time and space to firefight burning issues  besetting the nation in his first 100 days in office, vulnerable groups now clamor for President Aquino’s decisive leadership and action on an  equally pressing national problem, that of climate change. 

Speaking in behalf of poor Filipino communities in all parts of the country whose food sources, livelihood, health and very lives are increasingly imperiled by climate change impacts,. Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, a national network of civil society organizations working on climate-related issues, emphasized that a national agenda to protect the country from the worst effects of climate change is urgently and vitally needed.

In an earlier statement upon Aquino’s assumption into office, Aksyon Klima had expressed optimism that the President’s pro- poor stance would translate into concrete actions on climate change. Yet Aquino had made no mention of climate change in his inaugural speech and State of the Nation Address (SONA), giving rise to questions of whether the issue merits the importance it deserves in his agenda. 

The group noted, however, that Aquino had called for international cooperation to combat climate change during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly. “This gave us a flicker of hope that the President had not lost sight of the issue, but fighting climate change goes beyond mere international cooperation,” said Rowena Bolinas, national coordinator of Aksyon Klima.  Bolinas explained that given the uncertain fate of negotiations in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the government’s topmost priority should reside in domestic action to protect the local communities especially the marginalized sectors who have little or no means to cope with climate-induced disasters by making adaptation a national priority.  “No less than the President, as chair of the Climate Change Commission, must take the lead in setting clear and coherent policy directions and in mobilizing domestic financial resource to provide untied, predictable, and continuous financing for  local adaptation initiatives,” she added.  

The month of October, the group pointed out, is particularly significant in the fight against climate change because of the observance of the National Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Day on October 13, the World Rural Women’s Day on October 1, and the World Food Day on October 16.  “Now is the time for the President to make public his action plan on climate change; we in the civil society are ready to support him,” Bolinas concluded.




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