House declares climate emergency; PH may now pursue int’l justice

Published November 26, 2020, 7:38 PM

by Ben Rosario

The House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution declaring a climate and environmental emergency, thus, giving government the justification to pursue climate justice from the United States, China, and the world’s industrialized countries that are being blamed for the massive pollution of the environment which has triggered destructive climate change effects.


The Lower House adopted House Resolution No. 1377 that also sought to mobilize government agencies and instrumentalities, together with local government units, to effectively implement environmental, climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.

Principal authors of the bill include Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda and the late Cebu City Rep. Raul del Mar. Also listed as co-authors are Reps. Edgar Chato (Lakas-CMD, Bohol) and Eufemia Cullamat (Bayan Muna Partylist)

The House Committee on Climate Change chaired by Chatto strongly endorsed the adoption of HR 1377.

The declaration of climate emergency was sought by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.

Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, chairman of the House Economic Stimulus and Recovery Cluster, said such declaration is well justified as the country continues to be confronted by typhoons that have grown in number annually and increased in intensity and ability to cause deaths and destruction.

A declaration of climate emergency will empower the government to pursue stronger climate-adaptive and resilient measures. The declaration is a government admission that global warming exists and that urgent measures should be undertaken to address the problem.

Salceda, who is also chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said the Philippines must now commit to a foreign policy of pursuing climate justice from the world’s largest polluters.

“The three strongest typhoons on record to ever hit landfall – Super-typhoon “Goni” (November 1, 2020), Super-typhoon “Meranti” (September 16, 2016), and Super-typhoon “Haiyan” (November 8, 2013) all hit the Philippines, a country with one of the lowest carbon emissions per capita in the world,” Salceda said, referring to Super-typhoons “Rolly,” “Ferdie,” and “Yolanda,” respectively.

“We are in a climate emergency. And we need to pursue international justice. We are suffering from a problem we had little to do in causing,” the veteran lawmaker stated.

Last year, Salceda sought the adoption of House Resolution No. 535, declaring a disaster and climate emergency in the country.

Still being deliberated on by the Committee on Disaster Resilience, HR 535 proposes to compel the government and the society to take immediate action in anticipating, halting, reducing, reversing, addressing, and adapting to the impacts, consequences, and causes of climate change.