ILOILO CITY – The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC-Iloilo) joins with the rest of the world in marking Earth Hour 2009 (March 28, 2009) – a one hour lights-off initiative – from 8:30 to 9:30 P.M. in order to be one with Mother Earth and convey a message that global warming and climate change requires immediate and collective action from all sectors of society. 

The climate change phenomena have been manifested in the form of increasing abnormality of the earth’s weather patterns such as extended drought and intense cyclones.

The Philippines being an archipelago is considered as most vulnerable to changes in weather conditions especially typhoons.

The Western Visayas region, particularly Iloilo, directly experienced the impact of climate change when it was hit by typhoon Frank in June 2008. The super typhoon damaged properties and infrastructures, desecrated agricultural crops, crippled facilities of electricity and water services, and killing hundreds of innocent lives including children along the way.

The catastrophe that we confronted brought a new level of awareness on the issue and consequences of climate change making Earth Hour more significant and meaningful.  

As such, we express appreciation on the gesture of support extended by responsible business establishments and key government agencies especially the local government unit of Iloilo City led by Mayor Jerry P. Treñas.  

At least even more just an hour we stand united for a common cause and we hope that this initiative can the open eyes of our government on the reality of climate change.

The Earth Hour is also an opportunity for our City Government officials to make a consistent stand on the issues affecting the environment and the survival of humanity. We cannot fight climate change on one hand and promote climate killer projects like coal-fired power plants on the other.

This is the reason why even as we commend its support to Earth Hour, we challenge the Treñas administration to walk the talk and stop peddling for the construction of coal-fired power plant on behalf of Metrobank-Global Business Power Corporation and instead push for clean and sustainable sources of energy.  

According to the FDC-Iloilo Power Campaigns Committee, the activity would also entail savings to electricity consumption. For instance, if Panay has a total demand of 130-MW at 8:30 in the evening, the one-hour lights-off will entail a 130 kWh savings to electricity consumption if around 50-percent of electricity consumers in Panay island will join in the Earth Hour.

We likewise emphasize that popular initiative such as Earth Hour can only be truly successful if attached with sincerity and commitment from our government officials and those who participated. Without concrete actions, this initiative is nothing but meaningless in our global effort to fight climate change.

The Earth Hour started in 2007 with the aim of raising public awareness around the world of the dire impact of global warming and the consequences of climate change to humanity. The Philippines is currently at Number 2 in the Earth Hour 2009 total sign-ups worldwide dubbed as “Vote for Mother Earth! <www.earthhour. org.> while its target is to be on the top with ten million signatures.

The global effort is being spearheaded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) while the activities in Iloilo City were organized by member organizations of the Responsible Ilonggos for Sustainable Energy (RISE!) in coordination with the Department of Energy (DoE).  

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