TOKYO, Japan (Mabuhay) – To avoid a repeat of the devastation brought by super typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan), President Benigno Aquino III on Saturday called for an international mechanism to combat climate change.
Speaking at the session of the ASEAN Japan Commemorative Summit here, the President said the consequences of global climate change do not discriminate between economic powerhouses and developing states.
“It is incumbent upon all of us, especially for the countries that have the capacity to contribute significantly in combating climate change, to come up with an equitable mechanism that every nation, every corporation and every individual will adhere to. I have personally witnessed the degree of devastation brought by Haiyan. And it is my belief that we all have a crucial role to play in ensuring my nation or any nation for this matter does not once more suffer through a tragedy of this scale,” he said.
Yolanda tore through the Visayas and Southern Luzon last Nov. 8, leaving more than 6,000 dead in its wake.
While President Aquino thanked the ASEAN and Japan leaders for the help they extended to those affected, he also lamented less industrial nations such as the Philippines “bear a disproportionate amount of suffering from the effects of climate change.”
“As we all know, our respective nations cannot be caught in a vicious cycle of preparation, devastation and reconstruction. Haiyan is a reminder to all of us that just as we are determined to safeguard the interest and welfare of our peoples by improving our capacities to prepare for and respond to natural calamities, we must also commit ourselves to dismantling the conditions that enhance the effects of these disasters,” he said.
Still, he said the solidarity that ASEAN and Japan showed for Filipinos in the wake of Yolanda “reflects your people’s sincere and genuine regard for the welfare of my country.”
“The support of the international community, particularly of Japan and our brothers in ASEAN, tells us the Philippines is not alone in confronting the many different concerns of our time, one of which is the need to effectively manage and prepare for natural calamities,” he said.
On the other hand, the President stressed the need for connectivity, not just for trade but also for saving lives and ensuring a reliable and consistent flow of information, goods and persons.
He thanked Japan and the Philippines’ fellow ASEAN members for allowing the use of their aircraft, ships and other vessels to deliver goods and humanitarian teams to affected areas.
Also, he said the Philippines is hopeful for the continued support of Japan in implementing maritime infrastructure connectivity projects under the master plan for ASEAN connectivity.
Meanwhile, the President said the Philippines looks forward to the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015 here in Japan.
He said this gathering will provide an opportunity to develop concrete steps towards not only building more resilient communities but also in addressing climate change and natural disasters. (MNS)