Labor group backs Greenpeace call for climate emergency declaration

Published November 3, 2020, 3:43 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

The Nagkaisa labor coalition on Tuesday backed the call of Greenpeace for the declaration of climate emergency in the wake of devastations from recent typhoons ‘Quinta’ and ‘Rolly’. 

In a statement on Tuesday, Nagkaisa chairperson Sonny Matula said that such a declaration is needed to put the climate crisis on equal footing with the COVID-19 response in terms of urgency and significance.

“Climate crisis equally demands a whole of nation approach as its impacts on people and communities are far severe,” he said.

The group said they are also deeply bothered by the combined impact of the pandemic and climate devastation on jobs.

Nagkaisa has a green and climate jobs agenda under its State of Labor and its Agenda on Recovery (SOLAR). 

Under SOLAR is its public employment program called Unemployment Support and Work Assistance Guarantees or USWAG, where demand for green and climate jobs as a strong component in addressing unemployment and climate crises at the same time, is being proposed. 

The USWAG proposal has already been submitted before the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) last September.

Meanwhile, Nagkaisa said a study on climate jobs subject called” Greening the Philippine Pandemic Response: Labor Agenda on Recovery through Green Employment (LARGER) Programs” will be presented next week. 

The group said the study inquires on whether a green agenda is included in the government’s pandemic response and recovery programs, and, at the same time, proposes climate jobs as a major component in the government’s public employment programs. 

“We wanted to know if the President’s global challenge is reflected in actions taken in the home front,” Wilson Fortaleza who prepared the study, said.

He explained that the Philippines is rich in climate policies, but implementation is hampered by fragmentation, bureaucratic gridlock, and most of the time, by lack of funding. 

Fortaleza is a member of Nagkaisa’s technical working group on the labor agenda.