Today, we remember courageous Filipinos who fought hard and well for our sovereignty. It is a very auspicious day for the Philippine premiere of the sequel to An Inconvenient Truth because it makes one think: "How do we pay tribute to our national heroes and use their struggles and successes to help us resolve today's challenges?"
The great battle confronting our generation is one that has to be fought within ourselves and among our communities.
A lot has changed since 2006 when the first film was launched, especially on how we perceive the climate change phenomenon.
I recall that during that time, climate change was still considered an issue that was best left for scientists. It was not easy to make people understand the link between climate change and agriculture, food and water security, health, and jobs and economic development. Even those in government did not easily recognize it as a gut issue.
Similarly, even among the great minds in the Senate there was at first defiance. Some of my colleagues did not see the wisdom of enacting a climate change law or creating a standing committee on climate change, until Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng inundated almost the whole of Metro Manila, making everyone realize that even our country's seat of government and commerce, not just the far-flung municipalities, would now be feeling the effects of extreme weather events linked to the climate crisis. Afterwards, the Climate Change Law was enacted in 2009 and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act was signed into law in 2010.
Fast forward to 2017, and the Philippines is now regarded as an important voice in the global climate initiative. We led the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) that pushed for the 1.5 goal in the Paris Agreement; we spearheaded the creation of the Vulnerable Twenty group of Ministers of Finance or V20, which works to address climate change more assertively through innovative financing and technology; we have been climate-tagging our expenditures under the national budget; and we have acceded to the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement has been hailed by many as a landmark agreement, but its aspirations will not happen on its own. We must all contribute to make it work.
This is the important message of this film, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. Even as more nations, leaders, communities and individuals have embraced the battle against climate change as their own, there remain climate deniers. We are hopeful as we see global action gain more momentum, yet we worry if this will be enough to halt the Earth's warming and allow communities to adapt to the impacts.
All of us here today, climate warriors: let us take that one step further.
We are all urged to choose the path of resilience and sustainability--to veer away from the throwaway culture and move towards zero waste; to turn our back on extractive and consumptive practices and adopt a low-carbon lifestyle; to choose clean sources of energy over dirty fossil fuel.
More than a century ago, our heroes fought for our right to democracy and independence. Today, let us fight for our right to a living planet.
Let us triumph over this climate battle so that we ignite hope not only for the present but also for the future generations.
Source: Senate of the Philippines