Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel’s
Explanation of his YES VOTE for the Paris Agreement
March 14, 2017

Mr. President, my dear Colleagues, the threat of climate change is real and has been at our doors for quite some time. I know this for a fact, being a survivor of two typhoons, Ondoy and Sendong. Climate change is harmful, but we can do something about it. And voting yes today is one of those ways.

I vote yes, because this Agreement is in keeping with our Constitutionally enshrined principles. It is our duty to protect the rights of our people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature, as mentioned in Article II, Section 16 of our Constitution. It is a duty that has been reinforced by various Supreme Court decisions that say the issue of the environment is of transcendental importance. President Rodrigo Duterte himself has expressed his concern for the environment and climate change.

I vote yes, because this Agreement upholds our prerogative to plan and manage our economy and environmental philosophy under our own laws. In fact, this Agreement empowers our own institutions, giving us the flexibility to set our own goals towards the fulfillment of the ultimate objective. And when the shift to Federalism is achieved, our people, through regional and local governments, would have an even bigger voice in determining our environmental policy.

I vote yes, because this Agreement secures our future. If we follow our current track and not arrest the rise in global temperatures, sea levels may rise by almost 1 meter by the year 2100. That Mr. President, spells doom for our country. We already have previews of the destructive floods brought about by the 20 or more typhoons that visit our country every year. Permanent rise in sea levels would wipe out most of our coastal communities and cities.

Senate concurrence to this Agreement will be the legacy of the 17th Congress to future generations. We can say that on this day, when we were called to make a stand for the environment, we chose the path that protects the interest of all mankind.

Allow me to specially mention our colleague, the champion for the environment, Sen. Loren Legarda, for her efforts in seeing to it that the concurrence to this Agreement has been speedily achieved by the Senate.

Thank you, Mr. President. Maraming salamat po.