On global climate action: women as warriors for change

March 15, 2016


Filipino women are warriors not only for climate action but also for systems change, remarked by a research and training institution for women, the Center for Women’s Resources (CWR).

CWR’s statement coincided with the attendance of the 700 participants dubbed as “climate warriors” from different countries in Asia. The so-called climate warriors are now in Manila to attend a three-day international leadership training led by former US Vice President Al Gore.

As the international training started on March 14 to talk about climate action, CWR emphasized the active participation of every ordinary Filipino women as well as men in solving the climate crisis.

“Part of the initial step in solving the climate crisis is to know the cause why it exists in the first place,” said Jojo Guan, CWR’s executive director.

Guan explained that climate crisis happens in the country because of a prevailing socio-economic paradigm, which ensures wealth for a few and deprives resources for the many. The market-based economy guarantees profit for the elite and the corporations resulting to impoverishment of the majority and destruction of the environment. Greed triggers disasters, she said.

Disaster becomes more unbearable to women and children because it exposes them to violent conditions. Based on CWRs study, women and children become more vulnerable to sexual harassment, battering, and rape in a post-disaster setting.

As disasters bring havoc to their lives, women survivors participate in demanding for a faster intervention and response from the government.

Yet, instead of immediately responding to the needs of the survivors, the government makes use of disasters to pave the way for investments of enterprising bureaucrats and multinational corporations, explained Guan.

The much-delayed relief and rehabilitation programs in the disaster areas have reportedly been marked with corruption. For instance, 10% of the survivors of typhoon Juan (2010) received the aid in 2012, while 4% of the survivors of typhoon Pablo (2012) obtained the assistance in 2014. Survivors of typhoon Yolanda (2013) received the support after 11 months.

Curiously, relief and rehabilitation programs garnered enough funds from humanitarian gesture of concerned Filipinos and international communities. Even the government, under its Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) allotted a budget of ₱4.1 billion with additional ₱14.6 billion as supplemental appropriation for the relief and rehabilitation program. Another ₱44 billion came from foreign loans particularly for the same purpose.

“With the huge budget and various donations that poured in, the delivery of support and intervention remain wanting.

If ever, the significant part is the display of perseverance and social support among the survivors themselves. They show us how collective action can be a formidable way to achieve systems change in order to arrest climate crisis and all sorts of disasters, said Guan. ###