PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. looks forward to attending a United Nations (UN)-led forum on climate change in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December.  

On Thursday, Mr. Marcos Jr. said the Philippinesvulnerability to climate change is a major consideration for his attendance at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP).  

I hope to be able to attend because climate change is a primordial issue when it comes to the Philippines. So, I hope that we will be able to attend,he told reporters on the sidelines of a Trade department event.  

On Wednesday, UAE Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Mohamed Obaid Salem Alqataam, who is pushing for an improved Philippines-UAE relations in terms of environmental and economic areas, invited Mr. Marcos to attend the event.   

Beyond the Conference of Parties is that we also want to fortify our ties with the UAE,Mr. Marcos said.   

Last year, Greenpeace Philippines said as much as 80% of Manila could be submerged by 2030, potentially impacting 87% of its economic output.  

Mr. Marcos, who vowed to work towards a shift to green energy, has yet to declare a climate emergency, which would authorize the government to mobilize funds to step up climate mitigation efforts.  

The House of Representative made a declaration in 2019, but Greenpeace said last year that a follow-throughfrom the National Government has yet to be seen.  

The worlds two biggest economies, the United States and China, have not declared a climate emergency. Similarly, only Singapore among the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations has made a climate emergency declaration. 

Mr. Marcos, meanwhile, said improving ties with the UAE is highly needed mainly because of the significant number of Filipinos working in the Middle East’s third largest economy.  

And they have been very welcoming. They have treated our people very well,he said. They have protected them, and they have allowed them to make a living in the UAE. 

Mr. Marcos, whose administration has been actively seeking partnerships with foreign entities, was accompanied by the UAE ambassador when he visited the victims of Mayon Volcano, one of the Philippinesmost active volcanoes.   

The UAE has sent 51 tons of aid to families affected by Mayons latest unrest.   

Albay province declared a state of emergency last week due to Mayons eruption, which has already displaced 18,000 people.   

Mr. Marcos, speaking to reporters during the Thursday event, said that aside from cash assistance, affected residents might also be needing mental health support.  

We have to identify the problem and address it. And if it takes cash, then thats well and good. But sometimes its not cash,he said, noting that the impacts of Mayons eruption on education should also be discussed.   

These are other issues that are basically not quantifiable, but they are important. The issues of mental health of those children, even the parents, we need to think about because they are facing difficulties,he said. We have to give all the support that we can.Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza