By AC Dimatatac

Four years ago, I can still remember the time when we were all anxious in watching the news about the coming of typhoon Haiyan. Back then we were warned ahead of time that it will be a stronger one but living in a country visited by at least 20 typhoons a year, we were used to it already hence no one is prepared enough to face the wrath of Haiyan.

People of Sulangan leave a message of thanks for all the help of the foreign countries. Photo: AC Dimatatac

The typhoon made its landfall in the Eastern Visayas, hitting Samar and Leyte, killing thousands of people and destroying livelihoods. I was able to visit Tacloban and Guian after a month and it was almost Christmas season, I saw how people were trying to pick up the pieces of their lives and surviving with what was left on them. In all of my years as a photojournalist this was the hardest assignment I had taken and it was not easy for me to see the devastation because my family is from these provinces.

Haiyan has left a mark in the Filipinos that serve as a wake up call for everyone that climate change is real and its getting worse. Unfortunately the country is still not prepared to face disasters such as this because of lack of system change. We are still heavily rely on dirty fossil fuels which is one of the main contributors to climate change and we still don’t have a concrete plan on post disaster management. But it is not to late for us to change our ways.

Sibling feeding each other while their mother watch over them beside a fallen tree in Baranggay 7, Guian, Eastern Samar. Photo: Ac Dimatatac

Our country is rich on clean sources of energy such as solar, wind and geothermal. One way to fight climate change is to shift to renewable energy sources and the Philippines being a vulnerable country on climate impacts, can lead on harnessing this cheap, secure and clean energy.

Climate activists hold a vigil in Manila for Haiyan victims. Photo: AC Dimatatac

Impacts of climate change is getting worse all over the world and the best way to respond against this is to hasten the transition to a low carbon economy that is aspired for in the Paris agreement. This will bind all the countries to maintain the global temperature of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. The Philippines signed into this agreement just last March 2017.

Activists demand drastic action for world leaders meeting in Bonn, Germany for COP23. Photo: AC Dimatatac

Lets not wait for another Yolanda to happen again its time for vulnerable countries such as ours to stand up and tell the world that its time for a shift to a more sustainable and clean energy.