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THE PARTICIPATION of the Philippines in climate change talks ensures that we have a say on the climate discourse, which impacts us greatly. Approximately 20 typhoons visit our country yearly. In 2013, we were ravaged by “Yolanda”, the strongest typhoon in recorded history.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has decided to stop sending official representatives to climate conferences but clarified that we will continue to vote through online communication. We hope that despite non-attendance, we will remain active in climate change prevention.

Our participation in global discourse is not in vain. In 2015, as chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, the Philippines led the advocacy for global warming threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius. This ambitious goal is now enshrined in the Paris Agreement, which is meant to strengthen and guide efforts for global climate action. Participating in the global discourse can also be an avenue to press for greater responsibility and accountability especially from the primary contributors of global emissions.

It is also equally important that the State continue to keep its commitment in preventing climate change and to actively implement policies to mitigate its impact. For our part, the CHR conducted a national inquiry to probe the alleged responsibility of major fossil-fuel companies to climate change and how this impacts the human rights of Filipinos.

The future of humanity is at stake and our country is among those that bear the brunt of this global phenomenon. We, therefore, encourage the government to take advantage of all avenues that aim to address the climate problem.

(Statement of CHR Spokesperson, Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia, on Philippines no longer attending climate change conferences)

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