PH: Paying the Cost of Carbon

Below is an article shared to us by Rodne R. Galicha, Philippine District Manager of the Climate Reality Project and Executive Director of Sibuyan Island Sentinels League for Environment, Inc.

Now we ask: Why are we the ones paying for the cost of carbon?

Typhoon Haiyan speaks of climate inaction, injustice, apathy and irresponsibility. Enough with all these suffering, enough with this madness. When will they listen - when there will be no people to listen to, when our voices are buried with the rubble left by storm surges and strong winds? As help from different parts of the globe arrives, we are thankful for the the sympathy - but we need most is empathy. After global assistance has been delivered, states emitting large amount of carbon dioxide may still remain business as usual. They must submit themselves to a legally binding commitment to reduce carbon emissions, or else we will expect more typhoons which are larger and more intense. This is the price of carbon, but we are confused - why are we the ones paying almost every year? We continue to seek climate justice, climate debt must be settled.

Our islands, in 2008, suffered the deluge brought by Typhoon Fengshen. In 2009, Typhoons Ketsana and Parma; followed by Megi in 2010; then, Nesat and Washi in 2011; Bopha in 2012, the costliest - and now Haiyan: we fear this would not be the last. 

Haiyan shows the worst come but as it lashed our communities affecting millions of innocent people, we may run out of our unique Filipino resiliency. We thank the world for their kindness but we expect developed countries to take ambitious steps to prevent more Haiyans. We suffered enough. 

For four years, since 2009, I have worked with the communities living in Manicani and Homonhon Islands off Guiuan town in Eastern Samar. I haven't heard about them since Haiyan hit the islands. I am worried and I cannot help but cry. One of my cousins who decided to live somewhere in Samar is still nowhere to be found, his father who is in New Jersey is in deep grief. 

Although, not mainly covered by the news media, my province of Romblon where I decided to stay with the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council was also hardly hit by Haiyan especially the island of San Jose, the southern areas in Tablas Island and Sibuyan Island. From here, almost 6,000 households were partially damaged and around 750 families are without homes. 

Our Climate Leaders here in the Philippines are doing all there best on how to help and assist. Bro. Jaazeal Jakosalem and Fr. Manny Bolilia will be going to Tacloban City tomorrow for a faith mission called 'Spiritual Marines'. They aim to bless the dead and spiritually uplift the survivors. With their religious congregation, they have established Heartanonymous campaign for relief efforts. Now a local public official, Miguel Magalang is suggesting a national initiative campaign to maximize the controversial pork barrel fund (PDAF), realign it to disaster fund. A lawyer by profession, Atty. Christina Barroga, is expounding how to raise the recent event to the International Criminal Court. 

Yes, we see this as crime - climate crime, and we need climate justice.