QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), a broad coalition of peoples movements, political blocs and NGOs, called on the Aquino administration to do more than its proposed Intended Nationally Determined Commitments (INDCs). As the Chairperson of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, the Philippines must be at the forefront in demanding global targets from developed countries, and not just voluntary INDCs.

The Philippine government just submitted its INDC to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) with the intent to undertake GHG (CO2e) carbon emissions reduction of about 70% by 2030 relative to its BAU scenario of 2000-2030. Reduction of CO2e emissions will come from energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry sectors. The mitigation contribution is conditioned on the extent of financial resources, including technology development & transfer, and capacity building, that will be made available to the Philippines.

Likewise, in signifying to unconditionally cut down 10% of its carbon emmissions but with pledges of 70% conditional mitigation efforts, PNoy should guarantee that the climate finance it is asking for in return for its commitments will not be misused.

FDC challenged PNoy to “prove himself that he is NOT King Coal” and if his boss is truly the Filipino people, he should carry out changes in policies now! Start with cancelling all permits for coal-fired power plants they just issued.

Given his government’s propensity for mishandling public finance, we want to see a clear-cut plan that ensures the funds will go directly to programs and projects that correspond to our pledges under the INDC mechanism in the climate talks. We must make sure that the communities who are on the frontlines of climate impacts, and not the banks or private corporations, benefit from these funds,” Sammy Gamboa, FDC Secretary General said.

FDC issued the statements during the Global Day of Action Against Dirty and Harmful Energy with the worldwide Reclaim Power initiative, an internationally coordinated series of actions to call attention to the climate crisis caused primarily by burning fossil fuels and by other harmful energy sources. It also coincides with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s joint annual meeting in Lima, Peru. Both WB president Jim Yong Kim and IMF chief Christine Lagarde have called for urgent climate action, particularly the elimination of fossil subsidies and the adoption of carbon taxes, just this Wednesday. However, the World Bank continues to finance fossil fuel projects and even increased its funding over the past years.

While we agree that financing should be provided—by the developed countries primarily—to enable us to implement our INDC commitments, we want to see iron-clad mechanisms put in place for ensuring transparency, accountability, and peoples participation in the use of those funds. We certainly do not want to see a repeat of botched handling of funding for the Yolanda rehabilitation,” Gamboa said.

FDC added that the Yolanda disaster ended up being another opportunity for IFIs led by World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) to push for loans, in the process adding to the country’s debt burden even as it struggles to recover from the impacts of the climate crisis. The Philippine government incurred new loans from the Yolanda reconstruction amounting to a total of $ 2.94 Billion (Php 126.183 Billion), with WB lending of US$ 500 million, US$500 million from ADB, and also from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with US$438.33. 2

At the global front, citing a recently-published report by Brown University’s Climate and Development Lab and the Institute for Policy Studies, FDC Vice President Lidy Nacpil said “It is hypocrisy for the World Bank to demand more ambitious climate action when it has increased oil, coal and gas financing by almost four times since 2010. In addition, the Bank funds other harmful energy projects such as mega-dams.” Nacpil is also coordinator of Asian People’s Movement on Debt and Development and co-coordinator of the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice.

We must put the pressure on P-Noy and his administration to use his last few months in office to actually begin implementing the country’s commitments outlined under our INDC submission and prove that his administration is serious about contributing to the global effort to address climate change. He can start by abandoning his support for 59 more coal plants and mega dams like the Kaliwa dam PPP project which will increase rather than reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” Gamboa stressed.

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