Press Release
April 13, 2010

Legarda warns against rising number of climate change refugees

NP-NPC-LDP Vice Presidential candidate Senator Loren Legarda today warned against the rising number of climate change refugees in the Philippines, and urged immediate action to prevent the country from becoming a total disaster area.

She said that in 2009 alone, over one million Filipinos became climate change refugees, and the number is still growing. A professor in Oxford University estimates that by 2050, the number of climate change refugees in the world could reach 150 million.

"We don't want the Filipinos comprising a big bulk of this number," Legarda said.

Legarda, a noted environmentalist, pointed out the "climate injustice" prevailing in the world today, arguing that "while developing countries are most vulnerable to climate change, the main culprits of global warming, the biggest carbon emitters, come from developed countries. The US and China account for more than half of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The Philippines contributes a mere 0.27% and yet when climate change-related disasters like Ondoy and Pepeng strike, we sustain the biggest loss."

"We are bearing the brunt of the developed world's carbon emissions. The Philippines is the fourth most disaster-prone country in the world. And as last year's typhoons have shown us, disasters cripple our quest for economic development and raising the standard of living in our country," Legarda said.

The only "green vice-presidentiable," in this year's election, Legarda banners climate change as integral to the national issues confronting the Philippines.

"We see the impact of climate change everyday. It is an issue the confronts all of us, rich and poor alike. It is connected to hunger, to health, and achieving sustainable economic growth. That is why I am passionate about climate change - because many of our kababayans are poor and vulnerable. And yet government is apathetic about the issue," said Legarda.

"There is no denying that climate change is a gut issue. Extreme weather changes constrain the productivity of our farmers and fisher folk, and this leads to lower agricultural output and higher food prices."

Legarda asserts that climate change is a health issue. IFPRI (the International Food Policy Research Institute) calculates that the hazards posed by climate change could cause an additional 25 million children to become malnourished by 2050.

"Right now, malnutrition is a silent, deadly plague in the Philippines, affecting almost a third of our children. How can we address this if we turn a blind eye on the extreme weather changes that aggravate the problem?" she said.

"We want economic development that is sustainable, that we can build on and continue in the long run. This can never be achieved without putting environmental conservation and preservation at the center of the national agenda. Just look at how intensively our neighbors, such as South Korea, are investing in clean industries and green growth," said Legarda.

Locally, Legarda is pushing for the effective implementation of environmental laws such as the Solid Waste Management Act, Climate Change Act of 2009 and Clean Air Act. She joins international organizations and other developing countries in the call for developed countries to be responsible and accountable for climate change, and to help developing nations adopt to and mitigate its impact.

Legarda calls for adaptation mechanisms like reforestation, providing housing, health and agriculture funding.

She has authored landmark laws that protect the environment, such as the Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003) and Climate Change Act of 2009 (RA 9729).

News Latest News Feed