PMPI Statement on the First State of the Nation Address of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

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In the recently concluded elections in the Philippines, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., the namesake of the former Philippine dictator, won the presidential race with over 31 million votes, ending the decades-long campaign of their family to bring another Marcos in Malacañang and rewrite history from their perspective. 
 
As we enter the administration of President Marcos Jr., the country is confronted with a myriad of political, environmental, and economic problems which require the immediate attention of the government. The soaring fuel prices, devaluation of the Philippine peso, and continuous degradation of the environment among others are just but a few issues that pose an alarming difficulty to many Filipinos across the country.
 
For PMPI, the environmental or ecological crisis brought about by climate change and the continuing biodiversity loss should be a paramount concern for this administration. Data published by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), for instance, revealed that environmental challenges have created disproportionate impacts on marginalized communities, particularly women and the poor. Moreover, it was highlighted by USAID that compared to other countries, the Philippines ranked as one of the most vulnerable nations to the consequences of environmental disasters, hence leading to a high number of fatalities every year.1

We call on President Marcos to be true to his promises. In the middle of the electoral campaign, he declared in a press release that the environment will be his priority. He even said that “nature has its rights that should be protected. It should be allowed to flourish, reproduce and attain its abundance side by side with human civilization in perfect balance and harmony with our growing communities.”2

Given that the Rights of Nature (RoN) is one of the primary advocacies of our network, we are hoping that the President will take concrete steps to institutionalize the RoN concept in various levels of governance. Foremost is to enshrine in our legal system the recognition of nature’s rights. We believe that by giving legal rights to the environment similar to that of human beings and corporations, we are a step closer to securing the highest degree of protection under which an ecosystem can flourish, thrive, and naturally evolve.3
 
In our efforts to protect our planet earth, our common home, we urge the Marcos administration to address the following issues:

  1. Certify as urgent the Rights of Nature (RoN) Bill filed by Sen. Risa Hontiveros;
  2. Reverse the lifting of the moratorium on large-scale mining which Former President Rodrigo Duterte spearheaded;
  3. Uphold the Hague ruling on the Sovereign Rights of the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea
  4. Strengthen the implementation of the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) process for all development projects in IP communities;
  5. Establish mechanisms to ensure stricter implementation of laws against environmental crimes;
  6. Implement programs that advocate for renewable sources of energy and fuels; and
  7. Address the issue of importation of agricultural products that continues to be detrimental to local farmers.

We are deeply convinced that despite differences in political ideology, the President will fulfill his duties to the nation and prioritize every Filipino’s welfare.

On a similar note, the network remains hopeful that President Marcos will be open to discussion with civil society organizations (CSOs), specifically groups involved in environmental protection work. In this regard, we hope that the forthcoming State of the Nation Address will not only focus on restoring their family name but serve as a platform for the President to convey a detailed plan on how he will concretize the promises that he made during the campaign.

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