Green activists challenged candidates in this year’s Philippine presidential election to address climate and environmental issues in their public appearances and media interviews.
“The discussion on climate issues has been lacking throughout the election season so far, particularly on the struggle for climate justice,” noted Greenpeace Philippines country director Lea Guerrero.
She said the failure of candidates to speak about issues related to the environment “reflects the lack of ambitious plans” in their platforms that would protect the people from worsening climate impacts.
“In the (media) interviews, climate and environmental issues were addressed within the frame of disaster response, rather than systemic solutions that would address the problems at root,” said Guerrero.
The climate activist shared her observation following the television interviews of leading presidential candidates aired on Saturday.
Guerrero noted that the candidates only briefly discussed building back better through climate-resilient infrastructure, preventing loss and damage, the transition to renewable energy, and applying local solutions at the national level.
“The next president needs to advocate the rights of Filipino communities, including securing a green and just future for the youth,” said the Greenpeace activist.
She said that instead of “merely being reactive to the climate crisis, they must prioritize urgent, long-term, and systemic climate action.”
Guerrero said that while the question of accountability is frequently thrown at candidates, “accountability must also be demanded of fossil fuel corporations and rich countries who fail to act quickly on climate change.”
“Alongside systemic solutions, the next president must stand for inclusive, transparent and inspired models of governance that are fully accountable to people, prioritizing and meeting our collective rights to social, economic, cultural and environmental dignity,” she said.
Guerrero said issues related to the environment and the climate crisis “should be a major consideration of Filipino voters, in deciding which candidates are fit for their respective positions.”
“At a time when climate disasters have become a norm, those vying to become our new leaders must present a meaningful and transformative agenda on the climate and environmental crises – and their strategies to address these,” she said.