Climate change causing 'economic devastation' to PH, says ranking solon

A House leader has highlighted the annual economic losses that the Philippines suffer from natural calamities, even as she called on government and stakeholders to immediately address the issue of climate change.


San Jose Del Monte City lone district Rep. Florida "Rida" Robes said in a privilege speech earlier this week that the country loses around $3.5 billion yearly from natural calamities based on World Bank (WB) estimates.

“We can definitely feel the economic devastation of climate change. To illustrate, recently, Karding alone destroyed at least P160 million worth of high-value crops,” Robes said.

She said no less than 5,239 Bulakenos--1,571 families, including 1447 children and 231 senior citizens--were displaced and forced to evacuate due to the floods, which also cost the lives of five emergency volunteers.

"In the aftermath of super typhoon Karding, this representation would like to spark an honest dialogue to three inconvenient—yet vital—truths that affect our nation and humanity as a whole...The pressing and urgent need to strengthen our policies on environmental protection and adapting to climate change,” noted Robes, who chairs the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability.

She said it is lamentable and alarming to know that the Philippines, in terms of global metrics, ranked second in the 2018 Climate Risk Index among countries heavily affected by extreme weather events.

She said the Philippines is also 11th out of 180 nations in the 2020 Environmental Performance Index (EPI).

Robes reckoned that climate change is no longer imminent. “We are already in a state of climate emergency," she said.

"Our President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. addressed the UN (United Nations) General Assembly who declared that the country is the fourth most vulnerable country to climate change...This injustice must be corrected, and those who need to do more must act now,” she said.

Robes described the floods caused by Karding in her home province of Bulacan as "unparalleled and alarming". She said significant areas in San Miguel, San Ildefonso, and San Rafael—areas not typically prone to flooding—were engulfed in deep floodwaters due to heavy rains.

The ranking solon also gave honor to the five emergency responders who died while saving residents who were stranded in a flood.

Robes said the “Bulacan Five”--George Agustin, Troy Justin Agustin, Marby Bartolome, Narciso Calayag Jr. and Jerson Resurreccion died “in the line of duty and service to our country.” She said they were ordinary men who displayed extraordinary acts of service.

Robes has already filed two measures empowering emergency volunteers with House Bill (HB) No.5584, or the Emergency Volunteer Protection Act of 2022; and HB No.5650 or Magna Carta for Public Disaster Risk and Emergency Responders.