Duterte calls the United Nations ‘hypocrites’

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) -- “The United Nations and all these [industrialized] countries are hypocrites,” said Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday (March 20) during the second Commission on Elections (Comelec)-organized presidential debate.

Duterte was asked how the Philippines can fulfill its commitment to the United Nations (UN) to reduce carbon emissions by 2030, despite our reliance on coal for energy generation.

Duterte allowed AboitizPower to construct a coal-fueled power plant in Davao City in 2012. He reiterated that the Philippines does not contribute greatly to the global carbon footprint.

Also read: Duterte on solving PH Internet problems, use of nuclear power

The Davao mayor called the UN hypocritical for “bamboozling us to obey,” while not imposing sanctions on industrialized countries who violate the environment. 

“Kung gusto nila, bayaran nila tayo. Supply us with hydro, solar [energy]. Mahal 'yan,” he said. “We need to industrialize, we need energy.”

[Translation: “The UN can supply us with hydro and solar energy if they want. It’s expensive.”]

“We need somebody in Malacañang to just do it, at all costs,” he added. Duterte said monopoly is one reason why power rates are expensive. He suggested opening the energy market for investors to reduce the cost of power.

Also read: Ask presidential candidates about their climate change plans — Oxfam

Sen. Grace Poe agreed and added that citizens must be able to afford power costs. Meanwhile, former Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II said he is in favor of reviewing the EPIRA Law, or the Electric Power Industry and Energy Reform Act.

He said this will entail the government to finance power plants, hence creating competition and lowering power costs.

Poe said she is also in favor of reviewing the EPIRA Law, but if the same players would invest in the Philippines, there would still be a monopoly in the power sector.

During that part of the debate, Vice President Jejomar Binay did not suggest ways to curtail the Philippines’ dependence on coal, but brought up Roxas’ involvement in the MRT-3 corruption controversy.