Environmental activists discuss climate issues during a forum in Manila on July 20, ahead of the State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte on July 24. (Photo by Mark Saludes)
Environmental groups in the Philippines have questioned the sincerity of President Rodrigo Duterte in addressing climate issues.
The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice said that while there have been remarkable pronouncements made by the president, "actions are lagging behind."
Ian Rivera, coordinator of the movement, said coal companies backed by top government officials are "leading the charge to dismantle what was earlier a pro-climate and environmental pronouncement" of Duterte.
Rivera said a lack of "substantial change" is reflected in the continuous proliferation of coal-fired power plants.
From July 2016 up to the present, six coal-fired power plants went operational and five coal-fired power plant projects were approved.
In the mining sector, Jaybee Garganera, coordinator of the Stop Mining Alliance, said they have heard "strong words" from the president "but nothing more."
He said Filipinos have yet to see the president’s "tough pronouncements translate into clear policies."
Lawyer Aaron Pedrosa, convenor of Green March Alliance, called on the government to declare a moratorium on large-scale mining.
"What we need is development that does not compromise the environment and the people’s rights and welfare," he said.