Environmentalists welcome Duterte's statement on climate change

Originally published in ABS-CBN News

A group of environmental advocates on Monday welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte's statement regarding the threat of climate change and global warming.

"By recognizing the threat of climate change to food production in his latest State of the Nation Address, President Duterte is following through on his promise in his first SONA last year to prioritize climate action. It is consistent with his push to ratify the Paris Agreement," said Renato Redentor Constantino, executive director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities.

The group also urged the Cabinet to follow Duterte's lead and take advantage of their position to implement policies to protect the country from man-made disasters.

"The Duterte Cabinet must follow his lead and take advantage of their remaining five years in power as science presents an increasingly worsening state of the climate. Government must attack with impatience policies that prevent the country from surviving climate-induced disasters and thriving despite its monumental threats to our people. The fortunes of coal continue to plummet worldwide even as more countries pursue low-carbon transformation of their economies."

Duterte on Monday warned mining companies that he would tax them "to death" unless they restore the "virginity" of exploited areas. 

Duterte said he would use revenue from mining taxes to help host communities that were left "in agony."

"You have to come up with a substitute, either spend to restore the virginity of the source or I will tax you to death," Duterte said in his annual address to Congress.