Social Development Network pushes for Urgent Actions to Address Climate Emergency and challenges Government on Constricting Democratic Space
04 March 2020
Quezon City -- More than 250 civil society organizations composed of church-faith based groups, non-government organizations and people's organization coming from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao gathered for the general assembly to push for radical and strong actions in view of a climate emergency and engage state agencies on what they believe as a shrinking democratic space in the Philippines.

At the start of the assembly, Bishop Gerry Alminaza of San Carlos Diocese, addressing the body during his Keynote Speech asked, 'Can we still imagine and bear a world that is becoming uninhabitable for the next generation? We need to radically change our paradigm. Climate emergency according to world scientists is mainly driven by humans. A change in the way we relate with nature is needed. We need to recognize that all creation including humans are interconnected and interdependent.'

During the assembly, the need to secure our people in view of climate emergency was highlighted when the assembly gave the highest vote to the Climate Change Adaptation/Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management resolution. The assembly challenges the government to make a comprehensive plan that would mitigate the impact of climate change to food security and displacement of people. The importance of developing adaptation and mitigation programs is needed given that drought is projected to hit us hard and sea level rise in the Philippines will be three times more than the world average.

Yolly Esguerra, National Coordinator of PMPI said, 'One of our focus is to engage the government and policy makers. This is also the reason why good governance is also among the resolutions voted upon by the network. We will challenge government to act now and declare climate emergency given that we only have less than 10 years to stop a climate catastrophe or face human extinction.'

PMPI Co-Convenor and Executive Secretary of NASSA/Caritas Philippines, Fr Edu Gariguez said that the network will firmly push for good governance by engaging not only on the issue of corruption but also in extracting accountability on human rights violations perpetuated by the government and its instrumentalities. Fr Edu said that the protection of the rights of people is paramount as we are currently in a situation where our institutions of justice and accountability are being eroded and undermined by the very administration mandated to strengthen them.'

Fr. Juderick Calumpiano of SAC Borongan and PMPI Chairperson highlighted the need for laws to protect the environment. He reiterated that the current Mining Act of 1995 is highly skewed to the interest of corporations. It destroys a whole ecosystem without much regard for the people in communities. Mining results to the further decline of carbon sink. He also reiterated that besides people, other species within the ecosystem should be given a voice and their rights upheld and recognized, thus, the call for the passage of the Rights of Nature bill. Simultaneous to the advocacy to pass the said bill is the network's active push to hold private corporations accountable for their ecological sins.

The PMPI 6th General Assembly concluded with much resolved to uphold human dignity and recognize the rights of nature. It will move forward listening intently to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth.

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