Climate change, environment barely in PNoy’s SONA (Press Release)

QUEZON CITY, 22 July 2013 — Climate change has yet to be prioritized in the administration’s “tuwid na daan” even though the country has proven to be deeply vulnerable to its impacts, according to Aksyon Klima Pilipinas (AKP), a national network of civil society groups, in response to President Benigno Aquino III’s fourth State of the Nation Address this afternoon.

“While the President has rightfully reported the gains of his administration in disaster risk reduction, he could have also stated his vision to address the long-term effects of climate change especially for the vulnerable sectors,” said Melvin Purzuelo, AKP convenor.

“The President can’t focus on the typhoons and floods. Climate change also means adapting to rising sea levels and temperatures, which will greatly impact our ricefields and fishing grounds,” he added.

Purzuelo particularly called on the President to convene the Climate Change Commission and its advisory board in order to properly outline the necessary action plans for the different government agencies. He added that the revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Climate Change Act of 2009 must be signed and put into effect as soon as possible.

On the other hand, AKP national coordinator Voltaire Alferez lamented that environmental issues were once again missed out in this year’s SONA.

“Despite President Aquino’s declaration of our country being touted as a great tourism destination, the conservation and protection of our country’s natural resources were barely mentioned,” said Alferez.

The network strongly calls for the passage of the National Land Use and Management, Forest Resources and Alternative Minerals Management bills to address various environmental issues and to increase the country’s resilience to climate change impacts. It also pushes for the prioritization of renewable energy as it will be more affordable in the long term and will be better for public health and the environment.

In his mid-term SONA, President Aquino reported the government’s gains in geo-hazard mapping, addressing Metro Manila flooding, and Project NOAH. He also said that while he supports renewable energy, baseload plants must be built to ensure a steady supply of electricity.

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