Billion dollar loans for climate change 'unjust'

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/22 August) —  A climate change activist yesterday exposed as “unjust” the government’s over a billion US dollar loan supposedly for “climate change adaptation and mitigation.”
Red Constantino, Executive Director of the Institute of Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) told reporters here Saturday that the Climate Change Commission (CCC) under Commissioner Heherson T. Alvarez and the previous administration should be held liable.
Data coming from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) revealed that the Philippines loaned a total of U$586,592,639.00 for climate change adaptation compared to the grants it got of only U$369,847,995.00.
For climate change mitigation, the country borrowed U$491,635,179.00 bringing to a total of U$1,078,227,818.00 loans related to climate change.
“Climate change finance is not an issue of foreign aid, but an issue of compensation,” said Constantino in pointing out that getting loans from multilateral banks like the World Bank for climate change is wrong.
The Philippines as a developing country is considered a carbon-neutral country as its emission of climate changing greenhouse gases is minimal compared to developed countries.
Carbon emission from developed countries is the cause of the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere and is blamed for the increase in global temperature. Impact of climate change to countries like the Philippine is the occurrence of more severe and more frequent extreme weather events like typhoons and droughts.
“We are victimized by these loans twice or thrice over, eh. Parang sinunogan na tayo ng bahay, at pagkatapos, yung nagsunog ng ating bahay magpapa-utang sa atin ng pera para ibili natin ng bigas at damit” (It’s like our houses were burned. Then those who burned our house will lend us money to buy rice and clothes), Constantino said.
Climate adaptation refers to any climate change intervention that capacitates the people to adapt and be resilient to extreme weather events brought by climate change.
Climate mitigation directly addresses the source of climate change, which is the reduction of carbon emission, especially from developed country.
Currently, the US, China and Europe are the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
“Climate adaptation is an issue of justice, we are the victims here, and we should be compensated and should not be made to pay for defective loans which eat up a significant portion of our national budget which is already being drained by huge debt servicing,” Constantino emphasized.
“Wa na man gani ta nalipay kay ilang giguba ang atong planeta og malipay na lang gani unta nga makadawat og salbabida aron di ta malumos, dili gyud makatarunganon nga ila pa tang ipabayad sa ilang hinabang kanato” (We are not happy that they destroyed our planet. We would have been happy to receive a lifesaver from them so we won’t drown. It is not just that they will make us pay for their supposed help to us),  said Oliver Egypto, Executive Director of Partners Inc. which organized the media briefing last Saturday.
Cagayan de Oro is considered as one of the climate change-vulnerable areas in the country. Last year was recorded as the wettest year in at least the last 30 years. In 2009, Cagayan de Oro was battered by floods in the first two weeks of January. Another round of heavy flooding  hit the city in November.
Dengue fever, a vector-borne disease is also occurring at very alarming rates in Northern Mindanao and has already claimed at least 11 lives this year. The increase in the dengue cases according to health authorities has reached about 230%.
Climate scientists have predicted the rise of vector-borne diseases due to climate change. Vectors are animals, usually insects that transmit viruses, bacteria and worms when biting their prey. The mosquito Aedes aegypti transmits the Dengue virus. It is a day-time feeding insect. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin/MindaNews)