August 8, 2016
An official from the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has lauded the move of the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to act on the petition filed against 47 of the world’s largest producers of oil, gas and cement for allegation of human rights violation resulting from climate change.
National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez, who was among those who filed the petition last year, said the latest development is a step closer to their call for climate justice.
“We do hope that perpetrators of climate change be held accountable for their actions. We also pray that the CHR recommend to policymakers effective accountability mechanisms that victims of climate change can easily access,” Gariguez said.
The CHR recently ordered the so-called “carbon producers” to respond within 45 days to the complaint accusing them of violating the people’s rights to “life, food, water, sanitation, adequate housing and self-determination.”
These include companies which have branches and subsidiaries in the country, namely: ExxonMobil, Chevron, Total, Royal Dutch Shell, BHP Billiton, BP, Anglo American, Lafarge, Holcim and Taiheiyo Cement Corporation.
The CHR is expected to start its full investigation in October after the companies have responded. The companies will be ordered as well to attend public hearings, but only those with offices in the Philippines can be forced by the CHR to appear.
According to the 2016 Climate Change Vulnerability Index, the Philippines ranked 13 among the countries “extremely” vulnerable to climate change.
“The Philippines, being an archipelago, is prone to climate-induced disasters. The catastrophic effects of Super Typhoon Yolanda in our country could attest to this vulnerability,” the Goldman environmental prize awardee said.
April Ann Abello-Bulanadi