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PHILIPPINES

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Social movements, religious associations, and other civil society groups across the Philippines have united to call for a strong and fair global climate agreement ahead of the international climate talks that will start on November 30.

PH groups launch climate justice march; call for strong climate deal in Paris

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Press Release

MANILA, 23 June 2015 – Calling for the funding for public services and the stopping of tax incentives and dodging, an Asian civil society alliance unites with the world's largest labor, faith and other organizations today in celebration of World Public Services Day.

:Tax policies and systems should be aimed at raising resources for people's basic and development needs, not as instrumental for ensuring more profits for corporations and the wealthy," said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Asian Peoples' Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD), in a statement.

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On October 17 we’re raising our fists and our voices to RESIST COAL! RESIST EMERGENCY POWERS! On the National Day of Action Against Coal – under the Reclaim Power Pilipinas banner, our country’s contribution to the Global Week of Action on Energy there will be a concerted mass action nationwide as communities denounce coal as a dirty and harmful energy source.

Locally, we’ll let the President know that COAL IS NOT THE SOLUTION TO THE POWER CRISIS. We’ll let PNOY and Petilla know that we demand RE-al SOLUTIONS FOR THE PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES NOW!

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The Freedom from Debt Coalition(FDC) goes on its third day of its Tatakan/Sulatan ng GANID the MERALCO bills protest activity today at 10 am before the MERALCO Kamuning, Quezon City Branch.

FDC is calling on all consumers to express their outrage over the new power rate hike by writing or stamping on their MERALCO bills the word GANID (Greed to Express Corporate Greed). FDC also joins the initiative to wage a protest online through social media.

FDC welcomes the investigations by both houses of Congress into the highest MERALCO power rate hike so far but also warns of a trend in the ongoing official discussions on the issue to exculpate MERALCO and focus the inquiry only into the possible collusion by the major power plants in Luzon which went on almost simultaneous shutdowns along with the Malampaya maintenance shutdown this November-December period.

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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. ###