“Declare a climate emergency, and fund actions for climate justice instead of using the taxpayers’ money on confidential funds,” this has been the challenge of experts and advocates to the Philippine government during the No Time to Waste: Climate Emergency Forum last September 30, 2023, at Gateway Cineplex, Quezon City. The forum came after the special screening of Carlo Manatad’s film Kun Maupay Man It Panahon (Whether the Weather is Fine) as part of DAKILA and its human rights center, Active Vista’s Active Vista Human Rights Festival (AVHRF).
“As we commemorate the 10th anniversary of super typhoon Yolanda this year, DAKILA is one with fellow climate justice in underscoring that the climate emergency is not just an environmental issue, but a socio-political one,” says DAKILA Climate Justice Campaign Lead Joshua Villalobos. “We have joined the Commission on Human Rights, Greenpeace, and other climate advocates in the landmark case against the 47 carbon majors around the world that negatively impacted the lives and human rights of the Filipino people. Now, we direct our stronger call to our government to prioritize addressing the climate emergency instead of the confidential funds.”
The two-part event also fortified the call on seeking the government’s responsibility to spearhead the transition to clean and renewable energy.
“True to the theme of this year’s festival, Rebelasyon, showing a film that tackles both the realities and absurdities of our climate crisis and a forum that deep dives into the urgency of this issue, have been a wide eye-opener to all of us. We are no longer in the era of climate change; we are already in a climate crisis, where our actions and inactions are already a matter of life and death,” says Villalobos.
In July 2023, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres declared the era of what he called “global boiling.” In the Philippines, the effect of this dire situation is extreme weather patterns, from long dry seasons to typhoons as devastating as Yolanda, which claimed at least 6,300 lives.
The realities of a typhoon aftermath—loss, death, government’s incompetence, and despair—are portrayed in the film Kun Maupay Man It Panahon (Whether the Weather is Fine), a film set in post-Yolanda Tacloban.
“The use of bizarre visual and musical elements in juxtaposition to the tragedy of Yolanda proves the festival’s rationale of how perplexity can sometimes be the vehicle that brings forward the truth of our situations. In the context of Yolanda, the film also shows the varying coping mechanisms of casualties in the face of personal and collective adversity, especially under a government that romanticizes resilience instead of taking accountability,” Villalobos added.
No Time to Waste: Climate Emergency Forum followed after the film to deep dive into advocates’ calls for accountability, actions, and climate justice with Greenpeace’s SouthEast Asia Executive Director Naderev Saño; Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI)’s Deputy Director Candy HIdalgo; Psychometrician and Medical Action Group’s member Justice Hernandez; Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ)’s Luzon Coordinator Erwin Puhawan; and Wildlife Conservation Society’s Country Director Kate Lim; and DAKILA Climate Revolution Campaign lead Joshua Villalobos. The audience who joined the conversation included members of the youth, students, artists, educators, and climate justice advocates.
Climate justice: Sustainable energy, accountability
In President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ‘s last State of the Nation Address (SONA), he said the government continued to be alert and prepared in all disasters. The experts who joined the forum, however, demand more proactive measures to stop the climate crisis from worsening rather than solely focusing on disaster response. They also highlighted that the climate emergency is not just an environmental issue, but a socio-political one, in that it is caused by big corporations who should be held accountable.
“We at DAKILA joined the Commission on Human Rights, Greenpeace, and other climate advocates in the landmark case against the 47 carbon majors around the world that negatively impacted the lives and human rights of the Filipino people. As we move forward with this landmark case, we join our fellow advocates in the call for our lawmakers to enact laws that impose legal implications on corporations that contribute to worsening the climate crisis. We also call on the national government to spearhead that transition to clean and renewable energy,” DAKILA Managing Director Nini Oñate said.
“For this to happen, we demand that the government declare a climate emergency to recognize its responsibility in addressing the root causes and real-life effects of the climate crisis,” she also underscored.
Through its #ClimateRevolution campaign, DAKILA has long been campaigning alongside environmental advocates for a sustainable future and inclusive climate actions. In 2014, to mark the 1st anniversary of Typhoon Yolanda, DAKILA led the 40-day 1,000-kilometer Climate Walk from Ground Zero in Luneta to Ground Zero in Tacloban, making pit stops in cities and municipalities along the way to hold creative forums with stakeholders on the importance of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction management policies and programs. Saño along with organizations and individuals campaigning for climate justice will hold the Climate Walk again on October 8 to commemorate Yolanda’s 10th anniversary and call for social and climate justice.
Films, conversations for Human Rights
During the forum, a member of the audience claimed that the climate crisis was not a proven science. To this, Villalobos responded with, “The climate emergency and all human rights issues are indeed a clash between opposing narratives. This is why DAKILA and Active Vista hold the annual festival: to provide a platform for open conversation about relevant issues and listen to the studies of experts and real-life stories of casualties.”
The AVHRF will run until October 7, with ongoing events bringing human rights advocacy to the frontlines. On October 5, Thursday, the festival will feature the first Philippine theatrical screening of Santiago Mitre’s Argentina, 1985 as its closing film at the University of the Philippines (UP) Cine Adarna. The film portrays the true story of how a public prosecutor, a young lawyer, and their inexperienced legal team dared to prosecute the heads of Argentina’s bloody military dictatorship.
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