FDC to WB, ADB: Stop Hovering Around Like Vultures
Justice calls for Debt Cancellation, Climate Reparations, Not Loans
Manila, Philippines – The Freedom from Debt Coalition told the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB) to "stop hovering like vultures around a Yolanda-stricken Philippines, taking advantage of this catastrophe to suck blood profits out of our people." This is the response of FDC through its President, Ricardo Reyes, to the ADB and the World Bank loan pledges amounting to one billion dollars following the devastation of Supertyphoon Haiyan (Yolanda).
The ADB and the WB pledged loans amounting to $523M and $500M, respectively, for reconstruction and rehabilitation effort.
FDC said that Filipinos should not forget that these are the same institutions that drove our country, like many other countries of the South, deeper into debt-dependence and mal-development. Their structural adjustment programs (SAPs) – which cut public spending to basic social services – and loan conditionalities of privatization and market liberalization produced in just two decades one of the highly unequal economies of the world beset by jobless growth and massive poverty.
"This inequality and extreme poverty account for the disproportionate vulnerability of the majority population to climate-related crisis and other disasters. The poverty-stricken population and regions are the least resilient. They are the least financially capable of undertaking and sustaining disaster management and adaptation measures, such as building of sea walls, or procuring up-to-date early warning systems, or at the very least fortifying their houses so they can endure a super typhoon. Likewise, the poorest are the least materially capable to recover from the various impact of climate disasters," FDC explained.
The Philippines ranks sixth in the Climate Change Vulnerability Index, and the third most vulnerable country to disaster risks and natural hazards in the World Risk Index 2011. Climate-Change Financers
FDC also scored the IMF-WB and the ADB for their hypocrisy in claiming they have been out to fight climate change. "Far from being concerned about climate change, these IFIs are co-culprits of highly-industrialized countries and their corporate elites, with the ADB and World Bank in axis of financing climate change-inducing projects like coal and other fossil-based energy projects," FDC said.
Experts say that the power industry is a major contributor to climate change with power plants utilizing fossil fuels such as coal and diesel contributing the highest amount of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere.
In the 2012 study the World Resource Institute (WRI), the WB and the ADB ranked number two and three among the top IFI funders of coal in the world, with the total funding of US5.3 billion for 29 coal plant and US3.9 billion for 21 coal plants, respectively.
In the case of the Philippines, after the ADB together with other IFIs, successfully pushed for the privatization of the power industry, the ascent of dirty energy hastened. New coal-fired power plants were built, and the capacities of existing power plants expanded. Some of these energy projects were co-financed by the WB and the ADB, like the coal-fired power plants in Masinloc, Zambales, in Calaca, Batangas and in Naga, Cebu, which they heralded as "clean and sustainable."
According to Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) data, 84% of Philippine energy is derived from fossil fuels, and as of August this year, there were 31 coal operating contracts at the development and production stage. An additional 17 coal plant projects using a total of 26 boiler facilities are in the pipeline.
Debt Cancellation, Not New Loans
FDC President Reyes said that justice for the Filipino people demands debt cancellation, especially the illegitimate ones – odious, onerous, patently illegal, violative of human rights, harmful to the people, environment and climate, and bereft of institutional processes of consent of the people.
Climate justice demands reparations to countries like the Philippines in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) principle of common but differentiated responsibility. This responsibility takes the form of grants and aid to enable the Philippines to develop resiliency to climate change and compensation for losses and damages like what it suffered from Yolanda and previous other climate change-induced natural disasters.
Reyes challenged President Aquino to lead the call for debt cancellation and climate reparations to the international community. ###