Philippine Government Must Lead the Movement Against Climate Change The crisis of Climate Change endangers the existence of every living thing on the planet. According to the United Nations Development Program World Report, with more rains and unpredictable weather patterns hitting the Philippines, Filipinos, especially the poor, are in danger. The issue of climate change thus involves not only our right to a balanced and healthful ecology, but the right to life of every Filipino. Every Filipino must do his or her part in averting the crisis of Climate Change. Nevertheless, if there is to be definite, concrete, and long-term change directed towards averting the crisis of Climate Change, such change can only be effected by government. Therefore, as concerned citizens, we implore your Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to immediately undertake additional action that will be (1) decisive in abating global-warming practices and reorienting Philippine society towards "simpler and cooler" living; as well as (2) definitive of a government committed to averting the crisis of Climate Change and mustering the necessary political will. In addition, we respectfully voice out the following sentiments on the matter: I. We commend the appointment of Heherson Alvarez as Presidential Adviser on Global Warming and Climate Change (PAGWCC). However, we call upon Mr. Heherson Alvarez to resign from the Board of the Philippine Mining Development Corporation. The duties and functions of the two positions represent a conflict of interest, the mere appearance of may undermine the Government's efforts towards averting Climate Change. II. The creation of the Office of the PAGWCC casts a shroud of potential gridlock with the Inter-Agency Committee on Climate Change chaired (IACC) by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The matter is complicated by the Department of Energy having announced its own plans aimed at averting Climate Change. The efforts of the various government departments and agencies concerned with Climate Change should be consolidated into a single and coordinated Presidential effort that will spearhead Government action against climate change. The entity should operate with clear executive authority, a precise mandate or agenda, and equipped with the necessary manpower and resources. III. There should be stricter implementation of the Clean Air Act and other pertinent laws. For example, numerous smoke belching vehicles that obviously fail to meet emission requirements under the Clean Air Act can be seen operating on the streets everyday, especially in urban areas. Many of these vehicles are even common carriers, operating for monetary profit to the injury and prejudice of the environment, and the life of every Filipino, both born and unborn. Owners of such vehicles should be given no more than 3 strikes within a three year period, after which their vehicle should be confiscated and junked. Polluters must pay a price. IV. The Government should adopt a clear and comprehensive agenda, with a corresponding timeline, on converting the country from oil dependency to cleaner and renewable sources of energy. In closing, we wish to call upon every Filipino to participate in reducing Climate Change by reorienting our respective lifestyles, and sacrificing the comforts of global-warming practices. The benefits far outweigh the inconvenience. Lest we let our sons and daughters suffer the consequences of Global Warming and Climate Change, the solution begins with each individual.
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