Youth groups across the Philippines called on political candidates in this year’s national elections to show “love for climate justice.”
The call was made as young Filipinos joined the global “climate strike” on Friday, March 25, to raise awareness about the impacts of the climate crisis.
“In our wave of protest actions today, we want to show that the youth and the Filipino people are serious about what we want this coming elections,” said Jon Bonifacio, national coordinator of the group Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP).
“In the face of climate change, we need and deserve better leaders who can commit to immediate climate action for the sake of the people and the planet,” he said.
Greenpeace has earlier noted that even as the Philippines is among the most climate vulnerable countries in the world, “the climate crisis is still not a priority election issue.”
“And even while millions of Filipinos suffer from climate impacts year after year, justice remains elusive for communities that are bearing the brunt of the climate emergency through loss of lives, homes, and livelihoods,” said the environmental activist group.
In statement, Greenpeace noted that only one among the 10 presidential aspirants in this year’s elections is “staunchly championing” the cause of climate justice.
“Climate change, especially climate justice, should be an issue for the youth in this election,” said Mark Anthony Yabis of the Better Normal Youth Movement.
“We live in a generation where climate change affects our daily lives in different ways, like it or not, as a result of decades of wrongdoings from the biggest polluters and contributors to climate change,” he said.
Various youth groups also wrote “love letters” to local and national candidates to ask them to be champions of climate action. The letters will be delivered to the candidates to see how they will reply.
Together with the youth, Greenpeace is calling on presidential aspirants to stand up for climate justice by “acknowledging how the burden of climate impacts — loss of lives, homes, livelihoods — are borne by those least responsible for the climate crisis;” and “calling on big polluters — fossil fuel companies and developed nations — to be accountable for their role in fueling the emergency, and to fulfill their obligations to those who are impacted.”
“Climate issues affect all of us, regardless of our affiliations, where we are, or whatever sector we are in,” said youth leader Joanna Sustento.
“We are in a state of emergency, and yet most of our candidates don’t even seem concerned about the climate,” said Bonifacio of YACAP.
“Our next set of leaders need to put climate and the environment on the agenda, and start talking about what we can do to adapt to and mitigate climate change,” he said.