DAVAO CITY – An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has asked the Aquino administration to execute a moratorium on all coal-fired power plants as a concrete step to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The statement was made by National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez during the Interfaith Dialogue on Climate Change held in Malacañang Palace Thursday morning.
While the Philippine government has already pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 70 percent, Gariguez said that it can do more through changes on existing policies.
The commitment was made for the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) and submitted to the Conference of Parties meeting in Paris this December,
Gariguez said the Philippines has become heavily dependent on coal energy with at least 19 coal-fired power plants currently operating across the country and 20 more to be operational by year 2020.
“Worse is, these coal projects are located within the peripheries of communities that are traditionally home to millions of Filipinos and are supported by rich ecosystems and bio-diversities,” he said.
Gariguez cited as examples the strong typhoons such as Typhoons Yolanda and Lando that are occurring more frequently.
“Truly, climate change-induced disasters spell indescribable miseries to our people. When we talk of climate change, we need to see real faces of suffering and feel the urgency of addressing the crisis,” he said.
The Catholic Church through the Caritas confederation has already reached out to 1.8 million people affected by Yolanda, and managed a total of P3.2 billion over the last two years.
But despite the rehabilitation efforts, Gariguez said that “climate change and its ensuing extreme weather conditions are still hurting the most at risk population.” (davaotoday.com)