Philippine Green Party climate speech, by Elias Labro

On behalf of the Partido Kalikasan (PK), we would like to extend our gratitude in being extended the opportunity to be part of this historic event - the convergence of different polarities of experiences in building an alternative ideological foundation for a better society, a Green party.

Mabuhay po kayo!

Indeed the realization of our environmentally motivated idealism has now been taking a real and tangible form. In retrospect, on November 2013, typhoon Haiyan devastated my country in the Southern parts of the Visayas Island, particularly Leyte and Samar. For the most typhoon enthusiast and people who tend to study the climate pattern of the Philippines, it is known to be the most horrible typhoon that made the down fall on land and kills thousands of people. As to date, thousands of nameless victims still cannot be accounted. The country is visited by an average of 20 to 30 typhoons annually.  The pattern made by this catastrophic situation from typhoon Undoy, Habagat and Glenda puts the country in derail - socially, politically and economically.

For a country that relies primarily for its resources in its own people as an export commodity – the influx of the Diaspora or the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) and the most effective political beggars by asking for a loan from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Asian Development Bank, to name a few, the foreign debt had almost raised to $ 79 B. These had managed influence in restructuring the country’s economic and political policies towards a more liberalized system of governance that protect the foreign investments and to secure profits to the 1% of the elitist few.

Understandably, Climate Change, in the essence of Climate Justice, is a compounded element of “greed” of the capitalist mind-set and “greed” for local bureaucrat capitalist who manage to stay in power after the 1st bloodless revolution in 1986. The national government officials from the Executive branch, the members of the parliament and the local chief executives used their “powers and positions” to influence business controls and secure profits.

The massive land conversion to open trade liberalization of the agricultural products by the most hated economic pattern under the World Trade Organizations’ General Agreement on Tariff and Trade resulting to the destructions of the natural habitat and eco-system of the country through the proliferation of the “mining industry” owned by the foreign nationals and interest, secured by our local laws.  The mountains and forest reserve were destroyed. Hundreds of rivers were “destroyed” and become a dumping site for their industrial waste. The rivers which served as the natural habitat for fish and other resources for the benefit of the locals were now so intoxicated that it no longer served such purpose. Many low lying communities were annihilated by landslides from destroyed mountains. Thousands of indigenous people were robbed of their rights to till and protect the lands that their ancestral fathers protected since time immemorial. Thousands of people were relocated. The continuous struggle for lasting peace in Mindanao is a result of the continuing quest against the foreign dominated and interest in the natural wealth hidden in the mountains and the core lands of the region.

While the country has long been free from the dark side of the Martial rule of 1970’s, the Philippines is still under the bondage of poverty and injustices ruled by the same people who are with us against Mr Marcos.  Unfortunate as it is, the social change that we are aspiring for was been reduced into changing the old guards - not changing the system.  

The foregoing are, dim as they maybe, in reality man made catastrophic phenomenon which summarized the effect of the Climate Change condition in my beloved country.

In our feverous attempt to offer our humblest solution for the betterment our fellow Filipinos, after the 2013 Greens PH National Council assessment and planning, the party refocus its direction and supplied a vibrant strategy on building our mass base at the grassroots level; refocusing our limited resources from the over emphasized middle class base party into sectoral base party. We have so much to learn on how we define the significant role of the “Green Ideology” from the west that will gives more consideration on the geographical and sociological values of the inhabitants of the 7,100 islands and three major island of the country. The same number of island represents different culture and tradition. The party which represents an alternative political platform must be founded in its own historical and geographical conditions – and must represents the aspirations of every Filipinos. It includes its organizational structure and dynamism that is uniquely “Filipino”.

Greens PH address the lack of governance template by identifying one province as its pilot area. In this case, to address the Greens PH role in the campaign against Climate Change vis-à-vis on Climate Justice, the party utilized two pronged strategy, to wit: (1) working within the government and (2) strengthening the presence of the party at the Village level.

Working within the government resulted in the crafting of an Executive Order # 6, dated March 5, 2015 by the Governor, Hon. Ramil L. Hernandez, instituting for the creation of the Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Secretariat, it includes KABALANGAY/Greens Village, Inc., our local party institute as a regular member; we finally submitted and get the approval for the 15 years Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Plan.

Last April 22, 2015, during the Earth Day celebration, the head of the Climate Change Commission – Office of the President, officially accepted and acknowledge the Climate Change Action Plan as the first in the country after the enactment of the Climate Change Act 0f 2009. Greens PH had too much things to do…by utilizing the present authority from the local government, we envisioned to influence the 674 Villages/Barangay in the province.

After 10 years of its conception, Greens PH had its 1st Congress at the province level, the 1st Provincial Directorate of Laguna, managed to elect its newly constituted provincial directorate. It will now gearing towards registering as a local political party at the province and will field local candidates at the city/municipal council in 6 towns and 5 cities on May 2016; it includes the election of the Village Council and Youth Council on October 2016; we will field our complete slate in 27 Barangays as our test case.

The only thing that the Greens PH must do to be able to influence and realize its vision of Governance; challenge the inept political system at the micro level and participate in the electoral system of the country; field its own candidate and emerge as an alternative political party; if not, Greens PH will remain left in the dark corner of the political environment of the country.

In the lights of the on-going realignment of the industrialized countries and the western interest in the region, the emerging restructuring of the capitalist interest by the upcoming ASEAN integration this 2015 in the region; Asia Pacific Greens Federation (APGF) must address this kind of situation. The imminent integration of the countries within the ASEAN region is seen as another form of capitalist manipulation. The business interest will have consolidated their effort to control the rich and vast natural resources and utilizing the local oligarch’s who had controlled the power. This will brings more catastrophic effect in the lives of the ordinary toiling masses, socially and economically.

APGF must represent our interest in the international arena; APGF must assert its role as an alternative social and political structure in the midst of globalization. APGF must address the issues of organizational strengthening within the region. My concrete proposal: Form a study group that will focus on the consolidation of the emerging parties in the ASEAN region; strengthen the collective action by the parties who are in power by sharing its experiences in managing the affairs of the “greens” at the parliament and in the executive branch.

Lastly, I would like to congratulate every one of us by continuously working for a just society. We, dreamers, must toe the line. Green activist must unite for a better world!

Serve the People!  Walk onward for victory!

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