We commend DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson for exposing Japanese government-funded P3.5 billion loans that formed part of "midnight deals" entered into by the Arroyo administration. The move will be huge step toward the struggle against corruption and illegitimate transactions that tainted the Philippine government for the past decades.

We also support Sec. Singson's effort in calling for the cancellation of these projects. These same projects should be investigated since these were formulated to help Filipinos prepare for and recuperate from effects of the upcoming typhoons.

But Sec. Singson's moves are not enough.

He should also renegotiate these projects with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) because of international climate change agreements signed by Japan, Philippines and other countries.

Under the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Annex 1 countries -- including Japan -- are required to provide financial resources to help increase the capacity of developing countries to cope with effects of global warming.

The loans should be renegotiated on the basis of this convention. We must only accept such funding if they are in the form of grants because of their standing commitment to assist developing countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Japan, one of the major emitters of greenhouse gas emissions, is one of the countries that have accepted the responsibility of causing climate change. As a result, Japan, together with Annex 1 countries, should be held accountable for the impact of typhoons Ondoy, Pepeng, and Santi. Japan must give us funds in the form of reparation to pay for its climate debt.

According to studies, around three-fourths of the world’s total emission comes from developed countries including Japan, while developing countries incur minimal traces of emissions for the past ten decades.

The government should promote the concept of climate debt because the Philippines had little contribution in exacerbating climate change. We should claim the P3.5 billion worth of loans to Japan as payment for their climate debt for aggravating climate change impacts.

We also believe in the principles of transparency and accountability that the Aquino government espouses. Renegotiating the P3.5 billion worth of loans strongly promotes accountability to Japan for creating climate change that indiscriminately affects the Philippines.

With these arguments, we believe that the Philippines will be more capable of adapting to climate change without the fiscal burden of accumulating debt that lending countries like Japan opt to use as developmental assistance to our country. (30)

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