Young climate advocates from typhoon-hit Bicol demanded the Philippine government to show strong political will to declare a national climate emergency following the devastation of super typhoon “Rolly.”

000 8U98NK 1024x683 - Bicol students call for strong climate commitment from gov’t
Residents carrying their belongings arrive at an evacuation center in Legaspi, Albay province, south of Manila on October 31, 2020, ahead of Typhoon Goni’s landfall.
(Photo by Charism SAYAT / AFP / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The call for strong climate commitments also came as the country commemorated the seventh year of super typhoon “Yolanda.”

“Rolly should be a wake-up call. We, along with my fellow young Bicolanos, are scared because if we do not take this seriously, we will be expecting more catastrophic events. There will be more super typhoon Yolanda and super typhoon Rolly–with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic on top of it,” Bicol University’s (BU) Science Alliance Club president Bill Bontigao said in a statement.

Twenty-year-old Bontigao is from Tabaco, Albay and was one of those whose houses were damaged during the onslaught of typhoon Rolly. 

Bontigao among other Bicol residents have been experiencing some of the worst typhoons to hit the country in the past two decades.

In a position paper released on Sunday, BU Science Alliance Club expressed its support to scientists, environmental organizations, and climate activists in calling for a climate emergency declaration to ensure urgent actions to mitigate climate change. 

“We believe that the declaration will create ripples of gearing us up to a better normal because the normal that we have in mind is the problem itself. Let’s modify our thinking and understand that we need to focus on the things that will lead us to something that we truly deserve. We’ve had enough, never again! This is the last wake-up call and reminder for us to do better,” the statement read.

“With sympathy, (we) acknowledge the (struggles) of our fellow Bicolanos due to the typhoons Quinta and Rolly, (plus) the fact that we are still going through the COVID-19 pandemic. These typhoons are induced more by climate change and global warming. We have experienced enough and we deserve a sustainable, liveable, lovable, and a better way of living,”it added. 

Greenpeace Philippines previously called on the Duterte administration to show climate leadership as once again, the marginalized sectors, such as the youth, are bearing the brunt of climate crisis. 

“When the youth calls for climate emergency declaration, the government must listen. They are relentless in calling for urgent actions because their future is on the line,” Greenpeace campaigner Virginia Benosa-Llorin said. 

“In a country that is regularly battered by strong typhoons, FIlipino youth need protection. One way to ensure they are protected is to set policy directions that put people and planet first,” she added.

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