Environmental and climate advocates on December 9 staged a lantern parade at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Shrine in Parañaque City in observance of the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice.
Organized by the Defend Manila Bay Network and Peoples Rising for Climate Justice – Philippines, the event, titled “Liwanag ng Manila Bay: Parada Laban sa Reklamasyon, para sa Hustisyang Pangklima” (Light of Manila Bay: Parade Against Reclamation, for Climate Justice), aimed to draw attention to the environmental impact of land reclamation and call for climate justice.
The parade featured an illuminated float, marine-themed lanterns, and placards displaying calls to end reclamation projects.
Advocates emphasized the risks posed to residents of Metro Manila and other coastal cities, warning of increased vulnerability to severe flooding and storm surges.
Aries Soledad, Cavite provincial coordinator of the fisherfolk alliance PAMALAKAYA, criticized reclamation projects for adversely affecting fishing communities.
“Reclamation projects are killing fishing communities—there’s no sugar-coating it… How can this be a solution to climate change?” Soledad said.
Jhed Tamano of Turn the Tide Now and AKAP KA Manila Bay expressed concerns for the safety of environmental and climate defenders, highlighting threats and violence faced by those advocating for environmental conservation.
“Alongside our call to defend Manila Bay, we also call for the defense of our environmental and climate defenders. Defenders have been threatened, harassed, red-tagged, abducted, and even killed for championing advocacies like conserving Manila Bay,” she said.
Mikay San Ramon of Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines connected the local protest to the ongoing Conference of Parties 28 in Dubai.
San Ramon emphasized the call for accountability from major carbon emitters and immediate climate finance for vulnerable countries like the Philippines.
Jon Bonifacio, national coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, extended the fight for climate justice to include accountability for the Marcos Jr. administration’s policies and addressing the impact of imperialist countries and multinational corporations on Philippine ecosystems.
“Our fight for climate justice here in the Philippines means holding the Marcos Jr. administration accountable for its policies of plunder and its failure to respond to the longstanding demands of civil society and grassroots organizations,” he said.
All photos by Mark Saludes