On Friday, youths in the Philippines organized demonstrations to raise awareness about the climate crisis. They joined millions of others across the globe under the ongoing international Fridays for Future movement. Several groups of about a hundred young people wearing masks gathered in several spots across the country. In Manila, a monstrous effigy of President Rodrigo Duterte was paraded on the streets for hours.
The protestors were raising awareness about the country’s lack of commitment to dealing with climate change. The current administration stands accused of implementing environmentally harmful policies. Among the issues of contention was the decision by the Philippines government to lift a nine-year ban on mining.
The Philippines is one of the most endangered countries in the world due to climate change. According to a 2019 report by the Institute for Economics and Peace, extreme weather events such as super cyclones are a significant threat for the Philippines. Further, the country has also been ranked among 33 countries where children face a dire future due to multiple climate disasters. Unfortunately, the Philippines government has done little to make the situation better.
A group of youths led by Mitzi Jonelle Tan, a 22-year old climate activist, organized the protests. Tan says that the current demonstrations cover more than just environmental science issues. She says that the protesters are looking for action on all fronts to deal with the root of climate change.
“We’re looking at the systemic roots of the climate crisis. In the Philippines, we’re focusing on adaptation. Aside from drastic emission cuts that we must demand from the global north, our country now has to be able to adapt to the climate crisis,” said Tan.
The protests in Manila were done close to a manmade beach that was constructed contrary to the advice of climate experts. The beach’s sand is regularly washed away by waves
“We’re striking in an area that will likely be underwater before I turn 50,” said Yanna Mallari, one of the protestors. “Those are the kinds of challenges my generation is facing. We are here to call for action and inclusive adaptation policies that prioritise people and planet.”
The Philippines is ranked the worst in Asia and third-worst worldwide for violation of human rights against climate, land and environmental activists.
Via The Guardian
Lead image via © AC Dimatatac / 350.org