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FIRING LINE: Change of stand at COP27?

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

At the close of the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, last Sunday, a landmark agreement for the setting up of a “loss and damage” finance facility was reached. The rules have yet to be cast in stone, but this is undoubtedly a step in the right direction for climate change justice for the world’s most vulnerable communities and nations, like the Philippines.

Kudos to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for pushing for the “adoption of a precise definition of ‘loss and damage’ to include impacts from extreme climate events and slow onset change, to cover economic and non-economic losses, and to establish a mechanism that would fund and deliver technical support to help countries manage loss and damage.”

Soon enough, this fund will cover immediate calamity relief and reparations for communities affected by severe weather disturbances and hazard pay for displaced workers.

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Still, environmentalists and climate change watchdog organizations were grossly disappointed that the Philippine delegation kept mum over the issue of phasing out fossil fuels at the COP27.

Gerry Arances, executive director of the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED), voiced out the great expectation that our delegation would stand up to ensure that the world meets the target to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures, as stated in the Paris Agreement.

It had been the country’s stand for so long – even consistent with the Marcos administration’s push for cleaner energy sources – yet our delegation seemed to have abandoned it because of our power sector’s dependence on fossil fuels such as coal.

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In May of 2021, 6,000 residents of Quezon City converged at a community pantry in Old Balara organized by a dozen personnel and about 50 staff members of then-Councilor Franz Pumaren’s office.

Although he’d be cleared of any violation, Pumaren apologized for the “unseen event” of a likely superspreader at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now that he’s a congressman, little has changed about Pumaren and his apparent ascent to becoming QC’s very own “Superspreader King” – this time, holding a meet-and-greet at the Teodoro Alonzo Elementary School in Project 4.

Disgruntled parents do not appreciate that their elementary kids were herded in the hundreds on the grounds of the public school as a “welcoming party” for the newly elected congressman. He even attracted kids to mill around him for petty games with much pettier cash prizes.

Will he be answerable if any of these kids contract COVID-19? Most likely not.

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SHORTBURSTS. For comments or reactions, email or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at

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