The Climate Change Commission (CCC) has emphasized the influential role of the media in raising the alarming issue of climate change in the country, laymanizing its complexities, and shaping opinions and engaging the public in taking urgent, and ambitious climate action.
In the ‘Collab on Climate Change Fellowship’, organized by the Asian Center for Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University and Internews’ Earth Journalism Network, the CCC, led by Commissioner Rachel Anne S. Herrera, delivered a lecture to the participating environmental journalists about the Philippine Government’s response to climate change.
“The government welcomes this collaboration, such as with the media, where we can convey some of the work that we are doing and to seek your help to support us in conveying the needed messaging to more Filipinos about climate change. This pandemic has taught us that we could only achieve great things with unity. We need to have a common objective, and we need to reach out in terms of supporting those who are the most vulnerable,” said Herrera.
Herrera tackled wide range of topics related to climate change which include: the international arrangements in response to climate crisis such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), Paris Agreement, and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC); projected forecasts of scientists according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Philippine Climate Change Assessment (PhiCCA) reports; the country’s response through adaptation strategies and programs; climate finance; and the future scenario of the country in pursuing these strategies.
The Commissioner also discussed the issue of single-use plastics in the country, and the campaign of the government led by the CCC and the Department of Finance, in collaboration with other national government agencies, local government units, and civil society organizations to launch the “PINASiglang Mundo - Earth Day 2021 Webcast,” which aims to advocate not only the banning of single-use plastics, but also to promote sustainable consumption and production, and accelerate ecosystem restoration.
Herrera then encouraged the participating journalists to support and help the government in mainstreaming the complex issue of climate change, and the programs, projects, and activities needed to act upon to reduce or adapt to its impacts.
“The power to act is in our hands, so whether you’re a journalist, or from the government, or a student or a teacher, we must keep engaging everyone because no one can really escape the impacts of climate change. Each one of us can act to reduce its causes and also to adapt to it. Now that we are on this road together, we have to watch out for those who are most vulnerable and make sure they have ample protection. Kaya importante rin ang media, because you have the power to bring this knowledge across so that more people are aware that this is what awaits us, the whole of humankind, na ito naman yung susunod nating haharapin, and it will not be easy,” Herrera said.
The lone female Commissioner of the CCC also recognized that the government should foremost be accountable and transparent in all its endeavors geared towards the protection of the environment and undertake efforts to bring together stakeholders.
“The government must be accountable and must be proactive in protecting the Philippines’ interest in the international frameworks, and to bring in resources to develop the right policies. But then we must work together to bring all sectors’ commitment to effectively help prepare our people, because the time really is now. We must adapt right now, we need to take wise steps, and we need to move fast, as the problem requires speed and scale.” Herrera concluded.
To recall, the Climate Change Commission is the lead policy-making body of the government tasked to coordinate, monitor and evaluate government programs and ensure mainstreaming of climate change in national, local, and sectoral development plans towards a climate-resilient and climate-smart Philippines.