UPRI supports declaration of a disaster and climate emergency

House Resolution 535


Manila, Philippines - The University of the Philippines Resilience Institute (UPRI) supports the house resolution declaring a “disaster and climate emergency” in the Philippines. House Resolution 535 was filed by Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda at the House of Representatives last November 18.

According to UPRI and NOAH Center Executive Director Mahar Lagmay, “the declaration of climate emergency is for all to take seriously. This resolution is a reiteration of what we already know, that we need to do climate action and we need to do it now, no “but’s” and no “if’s.”

The resolution states that “the Philippines has been suffering from a disaster and climate emergency which now compels a whole-of-government and whole-of-society policy response to anticipate, halt, reduce, reverse, address and adapt to its impacts, consequences and causes”.

 Currently, Typhoon Kammuri, locally named “Tisoy” has already made landfall in Gubat, Sorsogon, with the Bicol and Samar regions already experiencing torrential rains and strong winds.

The UPRI supports the resolution to name 2020 as the year of “disaster and climate emergency awareness” to increase consciousness among Filipinos, who even at this time are bracing themselves for Typhoon Tisoy.

“Every year, the Philippines is constantly identified as among the top countries most impacted by the climate crisis,” said Yeb Saño, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, “so it’s high time we have this formal acknowledgement by the government that we are indeed in an emergency situation.”

Saño emphasized that a climate emergency declaration should push government to prioritise climate urgency in the national and local levels and hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their role in driving climate change impacts on Filipinos.

Additionally, Salceda stressed the role of science and the development and use of climate technologies to address the climate emergency.

“The best available science should inform and guide climate change adaptation efforts, including the integration, adaptation, and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessment to the people” said Salceda.

The UP Resilience Institute continues to serve as a knowledge hub of accessible, accurate, reliable and relevant scientific disaster data vital to the nation’s efforts in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Its mission is to empower local communities through multidisciplinary actions towards resilience.

Lagmay added that while the Philippines has been acting to address climate change impacts and raising awareness, “there are urgent actions we should have done yesterday. We cannot just sit in a pot and wait for it to boil.”