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30-day ‘walk for climate justice’ begins

Forty climate advocates set out on a 30-day walk from Rizal Park in Manila to Tacloban City, Leyte, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) on Sunday.

“We don’t want another Yolanda to happen. This is why we are pushing to end fossil fuels, and more importantly, demanding reparations from polluter countries. We need resources to fast track our climate action efforts before another disaster strikes,” said Gregorio Bituin Jr., a founding member of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) and a member of the contingent.

Hundreds more are expected to converge with the march as the contingent makes its way through the country, organizers said. They added that the “Climate Walk” is being held to raise awareness not only on Yolanda, but on climate change as a whole.

Combining walking and biking, the march is expected to go through four major stop-overs: Los Banos in Laguna, Lucena City in Quezon, Naga City in Camarines Sur, and Legazpi in Albay. In every stop-over, walkers will engage with the communities to raise awareness on climate issues. PMCJ coordinators across the country will also participate in these engagements in Lucena, Pagbilao, Atimonan, and Tagkawayan.

The Philippines is among the countries that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. In 2013, Super Typhoon Yolanda, known internationally as Haiyan, took about 6,300 lives, and rendered 1,062 missing and 26,688 injured. Yolanda made landfall in Leyte, which suffered the brunt of the storm.

CLIMATE JUSTICE WALK. Advocates mark the start of a 30-day solidarity walk from Manila to Tacloban on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, to remember the thousands of lives lost during Typhoon Yolanda a decade ago and renew calls for climate justice and reparation. Danny Pata

Ten years later, the Philippine government, especially the designated agencies on disaster risk reduction and management, have failed to learn from Yolanda’s wrath, PMCJ said. Storms occur more often and may soon become even more destructive, such as the case of Typhoon Odette in 2022 and Typhoon Rolly in 2020.

Meanwhile, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction Mami Mizutori is set to visit the Philippines this October to kick off the 2024 Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (APMCDRR), which will be hosted by Manila.

During her visit, Mizutori is set to meet with President Marcos and Cabinet secretaries to discuss the Philippines’ hosting of the conference and strategies for accelerating disaster risk reduction in the country.

The launch of Asia Pacific’s largest biennial conference on disaster risk reduction will be held on Oct. 13 and will include representatives from the national and local government, private sector, academe and scientific institutions, civil society, international development partners, and other stakeholder groups.

The conference next year is expected to draw over 3,000 high-level international delegates. The APMCDRR serves as the primary regional platform which brings together global leaders to monitor, review and enhance cooperation for the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 at the regional level.

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