Over 80 faith-based, government, and non-government organizations have signed a declaration calling for the Philippine government to declare a climate emergency during a press conference last Thursday, March 23, 2023.
The Rights of Nature Philippines (RoN PH) movement, steered by the Philippine Misereor Partnership
Inc, Laudato Si Movement Pilipinas, Caritas Pilipinas, Conference of Major Superiors in the Philippines,
and the Fellowship for the Care of Creation Association Inc., compels duty-bearers to take immediate action to address the ongoing climate crisis. The declaration emphasizes the interconnectedness of all beings and our responsibility to protect and respect nature’s inherent right to exist and flourish.
The group calls for bold and strategic actions for climate change mitigation and adaptation, protection of
forests and other natural ecosystems, sustainable consumption and production, and self-determination of Indigenous Peoples. It also advocates for legislative reforms, investment in climate research and
development, climate education and awareness-raising, and international, national, and local solidarity and cooperation.
The organizations and institutions that have signed the declaration include the Commission on Human
Rights, 23 dioceses across the Philippines, as well as environmental groups, Indigenous Peoples’
organizations, and youth groups.
“We are declaring it now because our government is not hearing our clamor. If they will not do it now, we should show them the way,” said Yolanda Esguerra, PMPI National Coordinator. “We need to declare it ourselves and continue to challenge them because it is their primary mandate to protect the people and the environment.”
The declaration also highlights the need for climate and intergenerational justice in order to ensure that the benefits and burdens of climate action are distributed fairly and that vulnerable communities are not left behind. It challenges the economic and political systems that prioritize profit over nature and people and calls for a just transition to a sustainable future that benefits everyone.
The signing of the declaration comes amid growing concerns about the impacts of climate change in the
Philippines, including more frequent and severe typhoons, flooding, and droughts. The Philippines is among the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change, with millions of people at risk of
displacement and loss of livelihoods.
The declaration concludes with a call to “Keep it down to 1.5C” and enact the Rights of Nature bill, which
recognizes the inherent rights of nature to thrive and protect itself from destructive anthropogenic activities that caused climate change in the first place.
The RoN PH General Assembly also resolved to push the passage of RoN Bills and ordinances vigorously. As of date, RoN bills are currently filed in the Senate and House of Representatives, championed by Sen. Risa Hontiveros, Rep. Arnan Panaligan, Rep. Edgar Chatto, and Rep. Joey Salceda. RoN local ordinances are also underway in Infanta, Quezon and Marinduque.
“We are fighting for the Rights of Nature and climate justice to address the climate crisis in a way that is fair, equitable, and sustainable for all,” said the Rights of Nature Philippines. “We urge all sectors to join us in this collective effort to protect our common home and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.”