PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte on Wednesday night said he will send only one representative in any conference on climate change abroad.
Mr. Duterte spoke at a welcome dinner hosted by the Asia-Pacific Healthy Islands Conference in his hometown of Davao City.
“Can you now force or exact obedience from the other countries if the commission or the body itself that would govern (or) try to control the carbon footprints in this planet is in disarray?” said Mr. Duterte, who heads the country’s Climate Change Commission (CCC).
He added: “There’s a climate change in Africa and they are there. There’s a climate change in New Zealand and they are there en masse. Then there’s a climate change in Tokyo, they are there.”
“Every department sends somebody who does not even know the definition of a climate and how it changes. How is the process done to create a problem for the ecosystem and environment?”
“So all of them. And when I saw the list of 11 travels, climate change conferences all over the world and it has nothing. Nothing good has come to my country except the expenses of going out and seeing the cities.”
“To hell with climate change because whether you like it or not, the typhoon is coming from….The Philippines is the window of the Pacific Ocean. So that is how you b___s___ with the money. You go.”
“And I said to this day, I fired a lot. Most of them were my friends who were with me when I was campaigning, and it pains me deeply to see them go.”
“It makes me sad, but, you know….Once and for all, we decide. We cannot be going to conventions every now and (then). I would insist on one representative from the Climate Change Commission, and I will not allow everybody to go out.”
“You need only one mouth. We are not as rich as France, Great Britain where you can send a delegation….”
In its statement, the CCC said, “Pacific island nations, including the Philippines, consider a two-degree Celsius increase above pre-industrial levels nothing short of an existential threat given their common vulnerability to climate change impacts such as sea level rise, ocean acidification, and more extreme heatwaves and rainfall, such as those currently slamming Japan, Greece, and Laos.”
The statement also quoted Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman, CCC vice-chairperson, as saying: “The Philippines and its Pacific neighbors fought together to enshrine the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming threshold in the (2016) Paris Agreement.”
Mr. de Guzman led the Philippine presidency of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), a group of 48 Pacific and other developing nations, during the Paris climate negotiations.
“Vulnerable countries must stand together in solidarity and lead the call for urgent climate action worldwide. We can only do so much on our own to implement Paris. We must protect not only our islands but our people’s health and wellbeing not tomorrow but today,” Mr. de Guzman also said.
Susan Pineda-Mercado, special envoy of the President for global health initiatives, said for her part: “Pacific island nations urgently need reliable clean energy that can power health centers and produce safe water, more highly-trained medical staff, better technology and financing facilities more responsive to their needs.”
“We need to urgently elevate the investment agenda of the Pacific’s health sector in a way that is sensitive to the worsening impacts of climate change while also providing funding, capacity building and technology transfer programs that can advance healthier and more resilient island systems across the Pacific,” she added.