Protestant Council calls for justice for victims of climate-induced disasters

November 9, 2021

Protestors march the streets, holding a banner reading, “Hold the Big Polluters Accountable.” Typhoon survivors and civil society groups in the Philippines, delivered a complaint to the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHR), calling for an investigation into the responsibility of big fossil fuel companies for fueling catastrophic climate change that is resulting in human rights violations. (photo by Vincent Go/Greenpeace)

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) has renewed its call for justice for the victims of the climate crisis and accountability from major carbon producers.

The Protestant council also reaffirmed its commitment to support survivors and climate vulnerable communities as the country commemorates the 8th anniversary of the destruction of Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

“Eight years after the Typhoon Yolanda landfall, we still call for justice. We will never forget the people who died from that disaster which was exacerbated by climate change and the grave negligence of both the past and present administrations,” said Bishop Reuel Norman Marigza, executive secretary of NCCP. 

The prelate said the council yearns for solutions to combat the impacts of the climate crisis on poor countries and “accountability and meaningful action from the richest and highest carbon emitters and polluters.”

“Since then, we have experienced typhoons and extreme weather events with almost to the same destructive impacts as that of Typhoon Yolanda – a glaring indication that we no longer have to wait for a few more years to feel the climate crisis,” he said.

Marigza called on the government to scale-up disaster mitigation, ecological protection, and climate change adaptation. 

The prelate, however, said that there is no “indication that our national government is now well-prepared, as shown in the government’s inadequate responses to post-Yolanda calamities.”

The observance of the eighth anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan marked the opening of the second week of negotiations at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in the United Kingdom.

Climate activist Marinel Ubaldo speaks at a press conference in Glasgow.

In a press conference organized by Climate Action Network at COP26 in Glasgow, youth climate activist Marinel Ubaldo called on the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to issue its final report on the Climate Change and Human Rights Inquiry.

“Filipino communities at the climate frontlines should not be made to wait for justice as every day of delay means another day of compounded human rights harms in the context of climate change,” Ubaldo said.

In 2015, civil society groups and members of disaster-stricken communities filed the first-of-its-kind climate change and human rights petition, seeking to hold “carbon majors” responsible for their contribution to the climate crisis.

“We want them to really acknowledge that they (carbon majors) are profiting from our suffering. [T]hey should be accountable and legally liable for the human rights violations linked to climate impacts. And we want them to change their business practices because we cannot go business-as-usual,” she said.

Yeb Saño of Greenpeace Southeast Asia said further delays on the release of the report will heighten the vulnerability of communities on worsening impacts of the climate crisis.

“Delaying the report further means providing space for polluters to perpetuate injustice and negotiate their way into carrying on business-as-usual, at the cost of our lives and our future,” he said. 

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