“That’s stupid. I will not honor that!”
This was President Rodrigo Duterte’s reaction to the Philippines’ commitment to the 21ST Conference of Parties in France on the historic agreement on climate change. He said this during the sendoff program for Filipino athletes who were about to leave for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Philippines was among 200 signatory countries that adopted the pact in December 2015. Being a signatory country requires the Philippines commit to the carbon-emission limit imposed by the agreement.
But Duterte deplored this, saying the treaty merely stymied or thwarted our development efforts at being an industrialized country. Industrialized or well-developed countries can afford to cut down on their carbon emissions because their wealth can afford modern and costly technologies that can do less with carbon emissions, if not totally do away with them.
Many observers say that should the Philippines submit to the carbon-emission treaty, it may suffer economically and forestall the potential growth of our economy as among the promising in Asia. Besides, it would mean another round of inflation and unemployment.
Duterte further recounted how he was pissed off by a foreign ambassador who reminded him of the country’s commitment to the carbon emission limit. To this, Duterte reportedly retorted:
‘No. I cannot tell… You don’t do it that way, Mr. Ambassador. (Your country) had reached the apex (of industrialization) and along the way put a lot of contaminants and emission and went ahead in destroying the climate,’” the president replied.
Duterte added that “We have not reached the age of industrialization. We’re now going into it. But you are trying to stymie (our growth) with an agreement that says you can only go up to here.”
“That’s stupid. I will not honor that,” the president concluded.
The diplomat further ventured with another reminder—about how the Philippines was a signatory to the international treaty—hoping perhaps to convince the president to submit to it, Duterte returned by saying, “That was not my signature. It’s not mine (I will not follow).” He insinuated following his remark with, “We will make a new one.”
How the foreign diplomat reacted to his words was not stated.
Duterte lamented how the lives of Filipinos are “constricted” today, apparently controlled by the world and particularly imposed on us by industrialized countries. They think that they can dictate the destiny of the nation. Incidentally, he was reminded of how the local elite oligarchs also control everything in the country.