November 7, 2021

From Metro Manila to Glasgow, Filipinos join COP26 protests to fight for survival in a drowning world

MANILA, November 6, 2020 —  From University Avenue in Diliman, Philippines to Kelgrove Park in Glasgow, United Kingdom, Filipino climate activists took to the streets today to join the #WorldClimateMarch around the 26th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The ongoing climate negotiations, they say, are dangerously following previous patterns of COPs where pledges are ambitious but actions fall short.

Climate activists use light projection to deliver their message at the #KliMalaya Climate Rally The creative protest part of the worldwide march for climate that is calling on world leaders attending the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow to take bold and ambitious climate action. Photo: AC Dimatatac

“We march today to remind COP26 leaders that this is a matter of our people’s survival in this drowning world. We need real carbon emission cuts and just compensation from the top polluter nations and corporations, not in 10 or 30 years when many Filipinos will have already been submerged by floods, receding coasts, and rising seas, but right now,” said Leon Dulce, national coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE), one of the lead organizers of the Philippine leg of the global day of action for climate justice.

The Philippines incurs billions of dollars of damages annually from typhoons and floods linked to climate change, and we experience it alongside the worst pandemic response situation in the world.

Various sectors gathered earlier today to demand climate justice as part of #KliMalaya the Philippine counterpart of the World Climate March that is calling on the world leaders at #COP26Glasgow to take bold and ambitious climate action. Photo: Leo Sabangan II

Lia Mai Torres, executive director of Center for Environmental Concerns Philippines, has been attending and speaking in various side events and actions at the COP26 blue and green zone spaces. She will be joining fellow Filipino activists alongside the Filipino migrant community at the big global mobilization in Glasgow.

“There is so much to protest about what has been touted as the most exclusionary COP ever because of vaccine inequity and inaccessible travel and conferential logistics. While there are rosy pledges here of zero deforestation by 2030 and a $130-trillion climate finance pledge by banks and investors, these are deceitful ‘net zero’ pledges that delay action up to the last year of the narrow window for action,” Torres explained.

“Too little, too late is truly a recipe for a drowning world,” she said.

Filipino environmental defenders and climate activists have their eyes beyond #COP26 towards the 2022 national elections, saying an emergency plan for a just and green economic recovery should be on top of the platforms of electoral aspirants.
“We are serious when we say we want to #UprootTheSystem for a sustainable future. I think it is high time for our prospective leaders to pass a People’s Green New Deal that will facilitate a just and green recovery, with the presidential elections just around the corner,” said Xian Guevarra, outgoing national coordinator of the Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP), in a separate statement.

#KliMalaya highlighted the intersectional character of the climate crisis by spotlighting the need to build a global movement of the oppressed, marginalized & vulnerable to hold our leaders accountable to science of justice. Photo: Leo Sabangan II