MANILA, Philippines – Former president Fidel Ramos urged the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to approve and ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, as any further delays would make Filipinos more prone to the effects of typhoons.
Ramos made the call to the government on Sunday, October 30, in his Manila Bulletin column entitled, "Climate change: Attention P Digong, Cabinet and Congress."
The former president opened his piece with strong criticism against Duterte, who had earlier threatened that he would not honor the international pact seeking a 1.5 degree Celsius global warming cap.
"In his consistently frequent insulting diatribes against the US (United States), EU (European Union) and the UN (United Nations) in which President Du30 also keeps complaining against the December, 2015, Paris Agreement on Climate Change (crafted by 195 nations, the Philippines included), he is unwittingly shooting himself in the mouth, and also all of us, 101.5 million Filipinos," wrote Ramos.
"He may claim that to be more 'insulting than friendly' to our long-established allies is part of his God-given 'destiny.' But, this is obviously wrong, and full of S…. T!!!" added Ramos.
He then cited the billions worth of damage left behind by typhoons Karen and Lawin, which both struck the country this month.
"So, is he allowing his countrymen/women to continue suffering from the devastating effects of typhoons Karen and Lawin – which are the forerunners of serial catastrophe La Niña (twin of destructive drought El Niño), about which Earth’s people were warned more than 20 years ago, and which must now be mitigated by more intense international cooperation and collective positive action?" asked Ramos.
Duterte initially said on July 18 that he would not honor the agreement, but softened his stance on the matter 4 days later.
The President said he is willing to talk about the climate pact if it takes into consideration the economic plans of the country.
Ramos now wants Duterte to approve the climate deal so the Senate may ratify it because it would "advance the interests" of Filipinos. (READ: La Viña: Paris climate deal aligns with Duterte’s 10-point agenda)
"It will also enable us to secure more investments towards our climate goals and gain access to the financial, technological, and capacity-building support to be provided to parties of the Agreement," said Ramos.
He argued that if the Philippines does not ratify the deal, it "will force us to continue on our own without having to consider or report on our contributions to the global response to climate change," said Ramos.
"Note, however, that our country has spent an average of 0.5% of its GDP (gross domestic product) per year for the past 25 years for 'Losses and Damages;' so we are, in effect, already paying for the impacts of climate change to which we have contributed very little. (For perspective, the Philippines is responsible for only about 1/3 of 1% of yearly global emissions)," he explained.
"Any further delay will increase Filipinos' vulnerability to super-typhoons that are forecast to come soon," Ramos further said.
Since the Philippines has yet to ratify the agreement, the country will sit as an observer in the next UN climate conference, COP 22, which opens on November 7 in Marrakech, Morocco.
Ramos had criticized Duterte in a previously published column that tackled Duterte's performance in his first 100 days as President.