PARIS, France, Dec. 7, 2015 – At the sidelines of the widely-publicized COP21, discussions between non-government organizations, legal experts, and scientists are taking place to hold the world’s top 50 polluters accountable.
Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (NASSA) said he and his group’s presence in France is meant to gather legal support for their international campaign and to find ways to track long-standing complaints.
“We are also conducting dialogue with scientists to support the complainants’ claims,” Fr. Gariguez said in an interview with CBCP News a day before he returned to Manila.
Continuous coal mining
The priest added it is sad to know most of the country’s energy sources come from coal-fired power plants. The government has also continuously allowed coal mining.
He explained President (Benigno Simeon C.) Aquino III’s speech before COP21 was good but inconsistent with what is going on in the Philippines. While the president talked about climate vulnerability, the government has continued to rally the country’s top corporations, including Aboitiz and San Miguel to operate more coal-fired power plants.
“It’s been business as usual for President Aquino,” Fr. Gariguez said. He said “it’s hypocriscy to the maximum level for one not to walk the talk.”
Human rights inquiries
However, Gariguez said he hopes the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) will do its best to inquire into the activities of a number of the world’s 50 carbon majors present in the Philippines. He said the CHR promised to do so during the first quarter of 2016.
He further said this is the first time the international community has attempted to hold the top 50 carbon majors accountable for the plight of the poor and marginalized, including farmers and fisherfolk. (Melo M. Acuña / CBCP News)