FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 12, 2013
Toronto, ON— A month ago, the strongest tropical storm ever recorded in history, Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda devastated towns and areas in Central and Eastern Philippines with over a million people left homeless, and with confirmed deaths totalling over 5,000 people. The category 5 typhoon struck the Philippines on November 8th and swept through towns and cities that have not even recovered from the aftermath of an earthquake that occurred weeks before. This calamity has saddened many of us within the Filipino Canadian community and has left many more feeling outraged at the slow response and neglect in providing immediate aid and relief by the local and national Philippine governments—all this amidst the ongoing news of government corruption and irresponsible spending of the people’s money. But with the recently concluded U.N. Convention on Climate Change, that took place in Warsaw, Poland, and the recent report released by the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC), we must understand the role that imperialist countries, such as Canada, and transnational corporate interests have in contributing to global warming, climate change, and environmental degradation. As many regions around the world, like the Philippines, continue and will continue to face the implications of climate change in unprecedented forms of destruction, we, the Congress of Progressive Filipino Canadians (CPFC), must continue to expose Canada’s own large scale national and global resource extraction projects that contribute to the overall environmental crisis of our day.
We expect more of these types of extreme storms in the future due to the melting of the ice caps and increasing sea levels resulting from the increase in carbon dioxide emissions and the general warming of the planet. Super storms like Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, along with Typhoon Sendong last year, and Ondoy in 2009, have been sweeping through the Philippines with continuing intensity; Yolanda proved to be the strongest yet. Similarly, Hurricane Katrina battered New Orleans in 2006 and Superstorm Hurricane Sandy moved through the Caribbean and the north Atlantic hitting the east coast of the United States in 2012 causing $65 Billion (US) in damages. Like Typhoon Haiyan, the immediate impacts of these extreme storms affect the communities that have already been pushed to the economic margins of society. Government neglect of these mostly racialized, poor and working class communities is exacerbated when they have to face environmental disasters where resources are already scarce. It will ultimately be the working class and marginalized communities, along with coastal regions of the Third World, like the Philippines, that will be most affected by any human-induced catastrophic weather event.
In these times of economic and environmental crises, the realities of climate change affects not only regions of the Third World, but are moreover perpetuated by the environmental excesses of capitalist industries. Developed, industrial countries of the Global North, such as Canada and the United States, continue to emit the highest amount of carbon dioxide. The current Alberta tar sands project, the Keystone XL pipeline and the Northern Gateway Pipeline signify one of the largest transportation and carbon emitting crude oil projects to ever be undertaken in our time. With the Federal Conservative government approving several agreements with domestic and foreign corporations, such as Chevron, Suncor Energy, Enbridge Inc, Cenovus Energy, China National Petroleum Corp., Imperial Oil Ltd, British Petroleum (BP), etc. the quest to dig up the crude oil in Canada’s western region will guarantee steady contributions to the increase of carbon emissions over the next century. More specifically, as a country that pulled out as a KYOTO Protocol signatory (binding countries to reduce carbon emissions) just last year, the Canadian government has made clear its unapologetic actions to continue contributing to climate change and become unhindered in its agenda to further exploit this country’s resources at the expense of Indigenous peoples and their homes, where these resources are located.
We echo Philippine delegate Yeb Sano’s statements made during the 2014 United Nations Convention on Climate Change in refusing to normalize the effects of human-induced climate change as a reality we have to live with while we watch our families and our people’s homes and lives get destroyed. It becomes all the more important when it is our communities, the most marginalized of every nation, that will have to experience the effects of the changes in our environment most directly. This most recent disaster from Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, in the Philippines, provided a glimpse of destruction that may continue to intensify if we do not address the issue of climate change today. We, the Congress of Progressive Filipino Canadians, must take a stand against Canadian government policies that give free pass for large scale corporate plunder of resources in this country or in any other. We join the many outraged here in Canada in exposing the ramifications of the corporate driven Alberta tar sands projects. We denounce these projects, and all subsequent projects that wreak environmental havoc and degradation at the expense of people’s lives and their livelihood.
Government and corporate accountability! End global catastrophe!
Stop transnational corporate imperialism!
End environmental degradation!
Organizations under the CPFC:
National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC)
SIKLAB Canada (Advance and Uphold the Struggle of Filipino Canadian Workers)
Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance—National
Sinag Bayan Arts Collective—National
Philippines-Canada Task Force on Human Rights (PCTFHR)
For more information, contact: