Pinoy priest blasts ‘big polluters’ in Paris talks

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Fr. Edu Gariguez, Caritas Philippines executive secretary

MANILA, Dec. 6, 2015 – A Filipino priest attending the ongoing climate justice talks in Paris, France has underlined the need to run after big polluters including coal, oil, and gas producers for their “climate sins” that affect mostly the poor.

“What is worse is that the poor and marginalized are the ones who suffered most the threats of these climate change induced actions by these big polluters,” lamented Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines.

The Goldman Goldman Environmental Prize awardee is in the French capital to present a petition against the so-called “Carbon Majors” for “violation of human rights resulting from impacts of climate change.”

Human rights violation

The petition was filed earlier with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in the Philippines, and was signed by Gariguez along with 16 other individuals 13 environmental groups.

According to him, “Carbon Majors” in the Philippines violated and posed threats to Filipinos’ rights to life, water, sanitation, adequate housing, and self-determination.

“We are no longer strangers to strong typhoons such as Yolanda and the recent Lando which spell indescribable miseries to our people. If we don’t act now and do something to stop polluters from harming further our environment, then when are we going to do it?” the priest pointed out.

Petition vs. ‘big polluters’

No less than 50 multinational companies were named respondents of the petition considered as the first human rights complaints against big polluters.

Of these, 10 companies have branches or subsidiaries in the Philippines, as follows:

  • ExxonMobil
  • Chevron
  • Total
  • Royal Dutch Shell
  • BHP Billiton
  • BP
  • Anglo American
  • Lafarge
  • Holcim
  • Taiheiyo Cement Corporation

Besides Gariguez, the other Filipinos and Asians present in Paris to give talks are: Climate Change Commission Commissioner Heherson Alvarez, CHR Commissioners Roberto Cadiz and Gwen Pimentel-Gana, and representatives of Greenpeace Southeast Asia as well as other civil society groups. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)

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