National Inquiry on Climate Change
December 11-12, 2018

On December 11-12, 2018, final round of hearings the Commission on Human Rights proceeded with the National Inquiry on Climate Change chaired by Commissioner Roberto Eugenio Cadiz at the session hall of the Commission on Human Rights, SAAC Building, UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City.

The panel was composed of Ms. Amalia Baihan, Tropical storm Sendong survivor from Iligan City; Mr. Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International; Ms. Laura Gyte, Senior Legal Adviser, Campaigns at Oxfam International; Ms. Honeylyn Gonzales, Tropical storm Sendong youth survivor from Iligan City; Dr. Glenn Roy Paraso, Executive Director of Mary Johnston Hospital Inc. and health expert, National Technical Panel of Experts of the Climate Change Commission; Ms. Loretta Ann Rosales, Former Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines; Ms. Monica Piquero Tan, Super typhoon Yolanda survivor and Research and Planning Officer at the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office of the Municipality of San Francisco, Camotes Island, Cebu; Mr. Naderev “Yeb” M. Saño, Petitioner, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia; Ms. Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh, Consultant, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Adviser to the Ministry of Climate Change, Government of Vanuatu; and Hon. Roberto E. Cadiz, Commissioner, Commission on Human Rights.

On the first day, the inquiry panel focused on the survivors’ narratives and experiences during the onslaught of tropical storm “Washi” which was locally named “Sendong”. Survivors manifested their courage and resiliency amidst the local government unpreparedness in disaster response. They recommended that there should be comprehensive disaster risk reduction management planning in facing such calamities.

They showed their gratitude to organizations that helped them recover such us the Greenpeace International, Oxfam, and the Commission on Human Rights.

On the second day of the hearing, Mr. Yeb Saño, Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, posited that climate change is one of the biggest problems of our generation. According to Saño, the rapid changes in climate should be attributed on human activities. He articulated that greenhouse gases are the main reason of global warming that is causing the climate changes. He further added that if the ecosystem cannot adapt naturally to such, it will collapse and that climate change is a battle we cannot afford to lose.

On the brighter side, Mr. Saño further discussed that the Philippines has a more advanced policy in addressing climate change compared to other countries.

Kumi Naidoo, secretary-general of Amnesty International, discussed the investigation into the 47 ‘carbon major’ companies and their responsibility for human rights abuses, if any, resulting to climate change. He stated that the fossil fuel companies’ carbon emissions lead to climate change that is harming the people and the planet. He pointed out that climate change is a human rights issue because it is a man-made phenomenon.

Commissioner Cadiz said that NICC’s result will be available in June 2019.