April 22, 2020 Wednesday
MANILA, 22 April 2020 – In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day this April 22, Deputy Speaker and Lone District of Antique Representative Loren Legarda called for stronger climate action, encouraging people to join the online climate movement amidst the pandemic created by the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“The phenomenon of climate change is so complex and overreaching in its impacts that we should now begin calling it the ‘climate emergency’,” Legarda said.
This year’s theme, "Climate Action," reflects the unprecedented impacts of climate change as it affects food production, water security, settlements, jobs and livelihood, human welfare, safety and security, poverty reduction, economic growth, and, consequently, the overall pursuit of sustainable development.
“We have seen many times the impact of natural hazards and the prevalence of disaster risk, exacerbated by climate change. They kill thousands of individuals, wipe out cities and communities, and undo years of development gains,” stated Legarda.
As an environmentalist and climate activist, her advocacy for many decades was to protect the environment and call for communities to increase their resilience to climate change through adaptation and disaster risk reduction measures.
During her term in the Senate, Legarda enacted vital laws such as Republic Act No. 9729 or the Climate Change Act of 2009 which created the Climate Change Commission, mainstreaming climate change adaptation and mitigation in policies and programs. This was followed by the enactment of RA 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act. Representing a shift from mere response in times of disasters, the PDRRM law promotes a comprehensive National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan that strengthens the capacity of the national government and promotes locally-led action together with stakeholders, to build the resilience of communities.
“The world cannot afford further delays, more so the vulnerable people who end up as climate refugees in their own communities, they who suffer again and again from tragedies brought about by a climate crisis not of their own doing. These vulnerable sectors include our indigenous peoples, farmers, fisherfolk, persons with disabilities, women, children and the elderly,” Legarda continued.
Despite the COVID-19 crisis and even as most of Earth Day celebrations have been pushed through digital and online media, Legarda urges everyone to continue the fight for climate justice.
“As we mark the 50th year of celebrating Earth Day, let us utilize our digital resources and skills to take climate action and raise awareness on protecting the planet while keeping our families safe from the current pandemic. In this celebration, let us always remember that to protect nature is to protect ourselves and our only home, not only for the present but for the future generations,” Legarda said.