Press Release
March 14, 2017

Senate Resolution No. 320 - Resolution Concurring in the Accession to the Paris Agreement Honorable

Win Gatchalian, Senator of the Republic, voting YES to approve the measure on Third and Final Reading:

Mr. President, the environment is the common heritage of humanity. Its preservation is a solemn trust, shared by the entire human race. Within this context, each and every member of the international community should be compelled by our collective conscience to do what is necessary to fulfill this trust, so that future generations of all peoples may share in the ecological wealth of the Earth. The Philippines, as a responsible member of the community of nations, has manifested its willingness to perform its obligation under this trust by acceding to the Paris Agreement. So that we may fulfill our obligation to the international community - and, more importantly, future generations of Filipinos, I cast my vote as YES in favor of concurrence.

However, as Chairman of the Senate committees on energy and economic affairs I must underscore the delicate balance that our country must strike between environmental responsibility and economic resilience. We must never lose sight of the needs of our fellow Filipinos. Our accession to the Paris Agreement must be made with inclusive and sustainable growth firmly in our minds. As such, we must ensure that we promote strategies that would not, in any way, endanger our prospects for inclusive economic development. We must take care to ensure that our valiant efforts to safeguard and preserve the environment do not result in the curtailment of the economic growth potential of our developing nation.

The reality of the matter is that the capacity of the Philippines to meet its intended emissions reduction targets under its Independent Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) document is contingent on the availability of external funding, the accessibility of new technologies, and the efficacy of capacity building initiatives. Our accession is contingent on the promise of developed nations to provide us with the assistance that we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions without compromising our economic growth.

Lastly, Mr. President, allow me to address directly the wealthy developed States of the world with a simple but forceful challenge: Do your part to uphold the sacred trust of environmental preservation.

According to 2012 figures, high income and upper middle income countries produce 67 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. This is a significantly larger share compared to lower middle income and low economies, including the Philippines, that are responsible for a mere 23 percent of global emissions. Despite this however, the emissions reduction pledges of the G7 countries, at 26-40 percent per country, pale in comparison to the Philippines's ambitious 70 percent target, even though our country's greenhouse gas emissions are a mere drop in the bucket compared to those of developed nations.

We must demand that the developed world take on a greater role in the fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The wealthy members of the international community must be compelled to do their part, and to contribute to the sacred trust of environmental preservation in a way commensurate to their share of emissions and their advanced technological capabilities in emissions reduction. The developing world must not be left to shoulder an inequitable share of the burden created by the economic growth of industrial giants. This is something that the Philippine government and its army of seasoned diplomats must keep in mind at the next round of climate change discussions.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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