Aquino: Try ‘bayanihan’ against climate change

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PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd has called on world leaders to adopt the “bayanihan” method in their collective effort in combating effects of climate change, saying no individual nation, regardless of its wealth, can adjust to this destructive global phenomenon on its own.

“The question is not about who among us should be doing what; the question is not about the contributions of individual countries. It is imperative that all countries do everything, and maximize what can be done to address climate change now. Either we all strive and sacrifice, or we only vary in how much we lose,” Aquino said at the Climate Vulnerable Forum high-level event in Paris, France, on Monday night (Tuesday in Manila).

The President proposed that in order to win the battle against global warming, for instance, all nations must work together.

“In the Philippines, we have as one of our core philosophies the idea of ‘bayanihan.’ Loosely translated, it means communal action borne of communal responsibility. Back home, we have been harnessing the energies of bayanihan toward national transformation: In instituting good governance, in engaging the engines of economic growth, and in creating a more compassionate and inclusive society. We have called on the spirit of bayanihan to lift up our countrymen during every storm that has made landfall within our islands,” he said.


“This spirit of bayanihan, dear colleagues, is exactly the same spirit that informs the Climate Vulnerable Forum,” Aquino added.

According to the President, all “positive national development trajectories” of emerging economies such as the Philippines “can be broken due to the disruption caused by disaster.”

In fact, he explained that funds that could otherwise be used for other development needs and services are channeled toward costly efforts involving relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

“By some estimates, annual losses amount to at least 2.5 percent of GDP [gross domestic product]for us in the CVF—this, despite the fact that we collectively contribute less than 2 percent of current greenhouse gas emissions,” the President said.

He noted that “those who have the least bear most of the burden.”

“We are getting better at adaptation. However, the reality persists: People still die and whole communities are displaced; businesses are affected, thus stunting economic activity,” Aquino said.

According to him, no amount of effort, however gargantuan, by a single nation can ever be enough to address climate change in its entirety.

“Individually, we are already survivors; collectively, we are a force toward a fairer, more climate-proactive world. Many of us have already been taking pioneering action, particularly in terms of climate finance. Let us not only enhance and intensify such work, but also fully leverage our solidarity in ensuring that the remaining barriers toward concerted action and knowledge sharing are broken downso that we may in turn link arms and march on together towards a more resilient, more inclusive future,” the President said.

Aquino also noted that while many countries have become more resilient in dealing with the “new normal” which is destructive in nature, it is imperative that all countries must prepare for the worse as a single force.

“Building back better has become less and less of a guarantee, given that the new normal might still be replaced by an even newer normal that is even more destructive, if we fail to act in concert,” he said.

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