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No more compromises!

Message of Filipino youth to world leaders on the 25th UN Conference of Parties by the Stewards and Volunteers for the Earth Philippines (SAVE Philippines)
December 4, 2019

We are sending this message from the Philippines where currently, we are being hit by typhoon Tisoy’s (Kammuri) heavy rainfall and flooding.

We are sending this message to all of you, our supposed leaders, who have the time to gather and do prestigious planning while many of us here are preparing for what could be another rock bottom for us and our countrymen. This may just be the last time that some of us in the Global South will ever have the chance to relay this message of urgency where climate-induced disasters have become the new normal.

You all constantly speak of development. You all speak of eternal economic growth. You all make promises of wealth, abundance and change, which get our hopes high at first. But your promises fade just as quick as the time you pronounced them leaving us desperately hanging with all your empty talk.

You talk and forget, but we remember.

We remember the lives that have been washed away by your criminal neglect and compromises. All the nameless numbers that drowned in heavy floods, the poor who died of hunger in droughts, and the indigenous and urban communities displaced for the sake of your “development” projects.

The science has always been clear: it is the profit-centered economy that is destroying our planet. Call it whatever you want: business, entrepreneurship, capitalism, whatever. One thing is clear: the unhindered pursuit of outrageous amounts of super profits for a powerful few is what brings about disaster and even death to the global population.

Life is even more difficult for us here in the Philippines. We are a tiny, archipelagic nation with the least carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions, yet we are among the ones who suffer the worst impacts of this climate crisis. We who live in the Pacific bear the amplified effects of unstable climate conditions.

And for this, we would like to address in particular our dear leader, President Duterte. Pay attention.

The moment you became the 16th President of the Philippines, we knew change has come. But not in a way that is favorable to us. Your campaign was very promising on letter, but you did not deliver. Poverty is still rampant. Ecological devastation has worsened, and is increasing at an alarming rate.

You even had the nerve to tell ASEAN leaders to “not sacrifice environmental for progress,” and you wanted to enforce “sanctions vs. violators” of the Paris Agreement on climate action. But how about the continuing operations and expansions of coal-fired power plants here in our country? How about the development projects under your Build, Build, Build program to entice foreign investments at the expense of our biodiversity?

We would like to remind you of how empty and devoid of meaning your words are. We would also like to remind you of your responsibility, as the sworn leader of this nation, to ensure the welfare of your constituents and our environmental integrity.

We expect nothing less but the declaration of a climate emergency. We shall see you amend all policies that exacerbate our already vulnerable situation, and allocate all resources for ordinary Filipinos to successfully adapt to the impacts of climate change. We demand that you, as well as your delegates, hold accountable the rich developed countries in the Global North to pay their climate debt and push for maximum reduction in their GHG emissions.

For you, and for the rest of our global leaders in the 25th Conference of Parties, our message is simple: NO MORE COMPROMISES.

Act now, or we will. We are watching you.

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