Guardians of Planet and People

Co-authored with Dinah Faye Balleco ‘We call on everyone to [sign a] unity statement against the red-tagging of environmental defenders in the Philippines’ One thing we are grateful in this challenging year are the people who guard and protect the environment even if it means being red-tagged, harassed, and attacked by those who benefit from …

7 Priority Actions to Manage the PH #ClimateEmergency

Co-Authored with Kristoffer Berse, Juan Pulhin, and Micah Nazal. Within 3 weeks, Typhoon Quinta, Typhoon Rolly, and Typhoon Ulysses wreaked havoc in Luzon, Philippines, resulting in widespread, severe floods, death, and destruction, all against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Local governments and affected communities struggled with the cyclical experience of preparation, response, and …

Last Stand in the Sierra Madre

Co-authored with Joy Reyes. In a span of 3 weeks, 5 typhoons entered and ravaged the Philippines, leaving hundreds of thousands displaced, hundreds dead, and even more affected because of the floods and inundation, power outages, and water shortages, among others. There is a connection among all these typhoons and their effects on the country, …

Policies and Measures to Combat Climate Change

The following is Part 2 in a two-part series. You can read Part 1 here. In June 2019, Philip Alston, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, issued an important report on how the climate emergency exacerbates economic inequity and social injustice. The report concluded that addressing climate change effectively required a fundamental …

In the Front Lines of the Climate Emergency

The following is Part 1 in a two-part series. You can read Part 2 here. There is no doubt about what Luzon has been experiencing in the last few weeks – the full fury of the global climate emergency. One after another, Quinta, Rolly, Siony, Tonyo, and Ulysses devastated parts of Luzon, the biggest island …

Sonny, Obet, and Pat

Last Tuesday, I wrote about Jun Factoran and Rolly Metin, founding leaders of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Today, I praise a politician Sonny Alvarez, an activist Obet Verzola, and a forester Pat Dugan. They were different, suis generis, each a category of their own, but they had in common – vision, brilliance, …

Pillars of our environmental community

June is environment month. This is because major environmental conferences were held: in June 1972, Stockholm, Sweden (United Nations Conference on the Human Environment); in 1992, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development); in 2002, Johannesburg, South Africa (World Summit on Sustainable Development;  and in 2012, again in Rio de Janeiro (United …

A crossroads for Meralco

Like many electricity consumers of Metro Manila, I am dreading the arrival of our latest bill from the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) bill. We have heard of horror stories of questionably high electricity bills from fellow customers. In some places, service has also been spotty – with households and neighborhoods experiencing repeated instances of power …

Fighting a pandemic and the climate emergency

Co-authored with Joy Reyes. Originally published May 14, 2020 on Rappler.com ‘One has to remember that like pathogens, climate change is not hampered by borders’ Today, we are faced with a global pandemic – COVID-19. In an effort to curb the alarming number of cases related to it and the increase in deaths resulting from …

Ecological irresponsibility and pandemics

Co-authored with Joy Reyes A pandemic is an outcome of ecological irresponsibility; environmental negligence also aggravates the health, economic, and other impacts of pandemics. This link between environment and pandemics is illustrated in the global crisis we are facing with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) which has forced governments to close down its borders, companies to …