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Marcos to seek help from partner countries to address climate change

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has put the issue of climate change mitigation at the forefront of his administration’s priorities.

Marcos, who took his oath as the 17th president of the Philippines on Thursday, said that "we will look to our partners and friends to help the Philippines, who, despite having a very small carbon footprint, is at the highest risk."

“Spare victims then help them recover and move on to lessen the harmful impact of climate change,” the President said in his inaugural address at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Manila.

The Global Climate Risk Index 2021 ranks the Philippines fourth among countries most affected by extreme weather globally from 2000 to 2019. The country is hit by an average of 20 tropical cyclones every year.

As part of efforts to curtail the effects of climate change, the Philippines joined nearly 200 countries in a landmark deal in Paris in December 2015 to cut greenhouse gas emissions to limit the rise in global temperatures to below two degrees Celsius.

Marcos' predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, told the United Nations General Assembly in 2020 that parties to the deal should honor their commitments.

Marcos went on to say that “the rich world talks a great deal but does a lot less about it than those with much less but suffer more death and destruction from climate change and lack of adaptation.”

However, the President said the Philippines has to do its part in addressing climate change and pollution.

“We do have our part to play, we are the third biggest plastics polluter in the world but we won’t shirk from that responsibility. We will clean up,” he said.

Marcos also touted the windmills in his home province of Ilocos Norte.

“We have yet to see large-scale practical solutions to pollution, though some are beginning to emerge. But, there are tried and proven new ways of mitigation,” he said.

“Blades have been turning over the sand dunes of Ilocos Norte, harnessing a power all around but unseen long before this day. I built them,” he added.

Infrastructure, tourism

Marcos also vowed to “complete on schedule the projects that have been started," adding that “I’m not interested in taking credit.”

“I want to build on the success that’s already happening. We will be presenting the public with a comprehensive infrastructure plan. Six years could be just about enough time,” he said.

The Marcos administration will inherit 88 projects that are expected to be completed in the next six years from the Duterte administration.

“No part of our country will be neglected. Progress will be made wherever there are Filipinos so no investment is wasted,” the President said.

Marcos is also committed to the recovery of the country’s tourism sector.

“The recovery of Philippine tourism with its emphasis on accessing nature’s beauty, I am sure will exceed expectations,” he said. —VBL, GMA News