Press Release
January 23, 2009

Pia questions GMA's self-appointment as 'climate change czar'

Senate opposition member Pia S. Cayetano today said Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's recent appointment of herself as 'climate change czar' will only add a redundant layer to the Presidential Task Force on Climate Change that will not necessarily lead to a more focused government campaign to address climate change.

"I totally agree that this problem requires full government attention, but is this really the way to go? Should the President head every government body where her appointed deputies have failed to perform, or where overlapping agencies cannot seem to get their acts together?" asked the lady senator.

She noted that Arroyo had earlier also named herself anti-narcotics czar at the heat of the finger-pointing between the Department of Justice and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency over the dismissal of high-profile drug cases.

"Aren't there enough qualified and dedicated women and men out there for the job? We have so many environment advocates who have received recognition here and abroad, but why appoint herself? Is she afraid of putting competent people to her cabinet? We are told that Mrs. Arroyo is a micro-manager, we know she likes to dip her hands on everything, but this is going too far," she added.

Expounding on the redundancy of the President's self-appointment, she explained: "Whether she names herself czar or not of every endeavor under the sun, Mrs. Arroyo, as President, is ultimately responsible for the failure or success of any program initiated by her government."

"Being czar is therefore redundant. To date, she has failed to prove herself in the fight against corruption and illegal drugs, illegal gambling, criminality, poverty and upholding human rights, notwithstanding her strong pronouncements to prioritize these. Until she can prove she made a difference in those past efforts, the czar labeling only serves to give our people more illusions."

"I hope the President is not oblivious of the consequences should she also fail in this respect. The disastrous effects of climate change, particularly on agriculture, coastal areas and our different ecosystems have been fairly projected by experts."

Citing the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Cayetano said the Philippines is highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, being an archipelagic country located in the typhoon rings.

"Naming herself czar is getting to be a disturbing habit of Mrs. Arroyo. It's a trite way of showing to the public what her latest priorities are, but I doubt whether this will convince the people to rally behind her, when many of them have already grown tired and cynical of her governance."

News Latest News Feed