DFA chief: PHL still online participant in climate change meetings

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By Charmaine A. Tadalan, Reporter

THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday clarified it will still remain a participant of United Nations conferences on climate change, but through online communication.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodor L. Locsin, Jr. on Wednesday said DFA officials can no longer attend forums if by air travel, which he explained is consistent with climate change efforts.

“We just vote without talking. A Nauru UN conference in New York said that using air travel to talk about climate change makes the climate worse,” Mr. Locsin said in a social media post.

“Internet na lang (We’ll just use the internet). Clean communication.”

This directive followed President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s remarks against costly international conferences on climate change. Mr. Duterte was speaking during the 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo, Japan last week, which was attended also by Mr. Locsin.

Mr. Locsin also argued the Philippines has been cited for its stand on the climate change issue and its plans to address it.

“UN experts say the Philippine DFA’s-not NGOs’-climate arguments and proposals are the strongest,” he said.

“So who will make and propose them now? We will-on the Internet as UN Conference urged. Wala ng (No more) traveling faces.”

He clarified also the directive doesn’t cover environmental advocates, saying, “But NGOs (non government organization) are free to come and go at their own expense.”