QUEZON CITY, 25 July 2023 – Reacting to the second State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered yesterday by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) called for clarity and urgency in the implementation of the government’s development plans, while affirming the need for the country’s climate action to be better incorporated in its economic agenda.

In his speech, the president identified investing in “public infrastructure and in the capacity of our people through food, education, health, jobs, and social protection” as the administration’s top priority. He also highlighted efforts of the Department of Energy to increase the country’s renewable energy portfolio and preparations for the developing El Niño this year.

Angelo Kairos dela Cruz, Executive Director of ICSC, said:

“Pursuing economic development by integrating climate science and evidence-based methods, upgrading systems, and prioritizing the basic needs of Filipinos are laudably mentioned in the President’s second SONA; prioritizing climate action and accelerating the energy transition is investing in better development. However, we are eager to see more concrete solutions on the table as climate change continues to jeopardize lives and livelihoods, and whose impacts are bound to worsen according to the latest science.

“The developing El Niño is expected to have profound impacts on many sectors, particularly agriculture and water resources. To truly boost food and water security, and the blue and green economies, it is imperative for the government to champion ecosystem-based adaptation by protecting and restoring major biodiversity and ecosystem services in the Philippines. We must further ensure that farmers and fishers, among other vulnerable communities, are protected physically and financially from climate risks and impacts.

“ICSC commends the Department of Energy for its efforts to speed up the transition towards renewable energy for a more affordable, reliable, and secure Philippine energy system. We expect more clarity in meeting 2030 and 2040 energy targets, building power plants, modernizing the grid, and electrifying all households, as Filipinos have borne the brunt of expensive and unreliable power for years.

“On mobility, intermodal connectivity as mentioned in the SONA is indeed a big step towards improving our transport systems, but these facilities must be safe, inclusive, and efficient for the majority of Filipinos. The goal must be to move more people instead of cars.

“ICSC appreciates the government’s recognition of climate change as an important criteria in policy-making. Frontloading adaptation and resilience in our response to the climate, energy, and economic crises not only contributes to climate prosperity, not to mention debt sustainability; but also leads to decarbonization as a co-benefit.

“We are committed to helping the Filipino people not just survive but also thrive in the midst of much adversity, and we expect more ambition, urgency and transparency from the Philippine government towards this goal.”


Anton Onato, ICSC: media@icsc.ngo, +63 995 991 2230, +63 917 149 5649