Philippines to ratify Paris climate deal by July

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change by July 2017.

On Monday, French Senator Gerard Miquel, president of the France-Southeast Asia Inter-Parliamentary Friendship group, met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr, who vowed that the Philippines would ratify the landmark international climate deal by mid-year.

"We met this morning with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, who very much assured us of the willingness of the Philippine government to ratify the agreement by July," Miquel told reporters after meeting with Philippine senators in Pasay City.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III relayed the same information in the same briefing.

"The projected timetable is by middle of this year it will be submitted to the Senate for concurrence. That is the information received by the delegation from the executive branch," Pimentel said.

Before the agreement reaches the President's desk, 33 government agencies and private groups have to submit their respective Certificates of Concurrence (COCs) first.

These certificates serve as assurance that the respective agency or group understands and approves the agreement and vows to do its share in implementing the country's commitment under the deal.

At present, there is only one agency – the Department of Energy – that has not yet submitted its COC, according to Pimentel and Senator Loren Legarda.

After the President's signature, the agreement would then be sent to the Senate for concurrence before it finally becomes a treaty.

"Ang pakiramdam namin sa Senado (We feel that in the Senate) we need 16 votes to concur, [and] we have the 16," Pimentel said.

Duterte initially expressed his misgivings about the climate deal, but after several Cabinet meetings and with a near-unanimous decision in favor of it, he finally agreed to abide by the agreement.

The Philippines is one of the more than 190 countries which agreed to adopt the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in December 2015.

Duterte has reiterated that he has a problem with the treaty's lack of sanctions for countries which violate carbon emission restrictions. (READ: Climate change real but Paris treaty unfair)

The agreement asks countries to volunteer how much of its carbon emissions it will reduce in the next decades to keep the world from warming by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.

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