Political will

By Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos |May 16,2019 - 06:41 AM

 

We went through the elections of national and local officials who are expected to urgently respond to the issues facing our society and planet such as climate change and the degradation of our natural world.

Two days before elections, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, which has recorded the atmospheric carbon concentration since 1958, reported the highest levels of the greenhouse gas in the last 800,000 years. It reached 415 parts per million (ppm), which they say never happened since “before our species evolved.”

Climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels which causes the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases such as methane which traps our over-heated planet. Global temperatures have increased by 1.5 degree Celsius since pre-industrial times, according to the International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) report. We have to reduce the use of fossil fuels and the lifestyles that we have been so used to and to have resilient ecosystems to cope with the devastating impacts of climate change.

The IPCC report is clear that “the world has the scientific understanding, the technological capacity and the financial means to tackle climate change. The only missing ingredient is political will, which is the only way to precipitate the unprecedented concerted actions necessary to stabilize global temperature rise below 1.5˚C.”

Although not much discussed during the  campaign period (an understatement actually), concerns for our natural world and livelihoods of those dependent on healthy land and marine ecosystems should be a priority, more than ever.

We are third among the vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change.

Political affiliations should be cast aside as a factor in working together to have the safe, healthy  and sustainable future that the present and future generations deserve to have. 

The Cebu provincial government is a prime example.

We pay tribute to the administration under the leadership of Governor Hilario Davide, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan led by Vice Governor Agnes Magpale and the chairperson of the Environment Committee, Provincial Board member Jonkie Ouano, in enacting the ordinance amending the Provincial Fisheries Code. Cebu is the first province in the country to localize and incorporate the strong features of the Fisheries Code of the Philippines, as amended by RA 10654 to stop, fight and deter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, which has caused the over-exploitation of our fisheries.

The DILG under Secretary Eduardo Año required coastal local governments to prioritize the regulation and monitoring of fisheries activities and incorporate the features of RA 10654 in their respective ordinances. The DILG has the baseline data obtained from the Fisheries Compliance Index (FISHCA) of the LGUs to determine the status of their compliance in performing their mandates under the Fisheries Code, as amended.

The Cebu provincial government has shown that it has what it takes to ensure the protection of our oceans and cope with climate change. That is political will in action and may this continue.

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