Palace may study climate emergency declaration – Roque

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 17) — President Rodrigo Duterte will likely order a study into the possible declaration of national climate emergency following the spate of typhoons in the country, his spokesperson said Tuesday.

Environmental group Greenpeace reiterated its call for a climate emergency declaration less than two weeks after Super Typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco) battered Luzon, causing massive flooding and leaving at least 73 people dead.

Greenpeace, in a Nov. 12 statement, stressed the urgent need for a whole-of-government and whole-of-society response to climate crisis. The organization also took note of Duterte’s demand for climate justice during his speech at the 37th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit.

"Developed countries must lead in deep and drastic cuts in carbon emissions," Duterte said. "They must act now, or it would be too late –– or if I may say addedly, it is too late.”

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque expects Duterte to follow through by making the same call in high-level meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and by considering the declaration of climate emergency in the country.

Well, tingin ko po, pag-aaralan iyan ng Palasyo ‘no dahil sa mga deklarasyon po ni Presidente sa UN General Assembly, sa ASEAN, at inaasahan ko rin po na sasabihin niya ito sa APEC,” Roque said in an online media briefing.

[Translation: Well, I think, the Palace will study that because of the President’s declarations at the UN General Assembly, ASEAN, and I expect, he will also say these at the APEC.]

Climate change is a priority for the President, considering the devastating floods suffered by Filipinos, Roque added. He cited the investigations Duterte has ordered on the illegal mining and logging activities in Cagayan Valley, one of the regions worst hit by Typhoon Ulysses.

The governors of Cagayan and Isabela, two provinces where a large number of residents got trapped in their flooded homes, hope the recent disaster would serve as a wake-up call to save and protect the environment.

The Philippines is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change, with high risk for typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions which could cost lives and damage properties if disaster mitigation protocols are absent or lacking.