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Philippines: They Destroy, We Suffer

category international | anti-capitalism | opinion/analysis author Friday November 22, 2013 09:49author by PM / PLM/ PMCJ Report this post to the editors

Capitalism is destroying the planet. Now we suffer. The devastating horror unleashed by monster-typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) upon the eastern and central Philippines regions is unspeakable. As of writing, estimates of the number of casualties and actual damages are tentative because many areas remain isolated and communications, power, road and port systems are down.

2013philippinemovementclimatejustice.jpg

By Labor Party - Philippines

An initial estimate by the provincial government of Leyte and the regional police put the death toll at more than 10,000. Seventy to 80 percent of houses and structures along the typhoon’s path were destroyed. In Tacloban City alone, officials told the media that the death toll “could go up” to 10,000, as people died en masse from surging tidal waves.

We are yet to account for some of our party members, including the leader of the city’s federation of tricycle drivers and operators. Another member, a newly-elected village official in Southern Leyte, is still without contact. We just hope that they have survived the wrath of Haiyan. There is also little information about Eastern Samar towns where Haiyan made first land from the Pacific.

Massive loss of life and destruction are indeed beyond words to describe. The death toll will surely climb when actual rescue and retrieval operations reach the isolated areas. National and international aid is coming in, but there will be definitely a catastrophic scarcity of most essentials such as food, water, power, housing and medicines; the national and local governments were caught unprepared to deal with the colossal impact of Haiyan. And we still have four or five more typhoons coming this year, according to official weather forecasts.

The poor suffer the most

The poor – the army of low-income, unemployed and underemployed people – suffer the most in every disaster. It is because they lack the means to protect themselves during calamities and the ability to survive and recover thereafter.

Most of the poor, both in rural and urban areas, live in hazard zones (slums, riverbanks, creeks, coastlines, mountain slopes) that are prone both to natural and man-made disasters. Their houses are made of light materials just enough to cover them from sunshine and rain, but not for surging floods, landslides, or tidal waves.

Moreover, the country’s biggest employer, the agriculture sector, is first to suffer from the impact of both La Niña (floods) and El Niño (long drought), which are now common phenomena due to climate change, and further endanger the country’s food security and employment opportunities.

Regrettably, the poor don’t even know why nature is so unkind to people, most especially to them. They have not been informed that today’s wrath is more man-made rather than what they usually consider a natural phenomenon. They are yet to understand that it was capitalism that exploited and destroyed this planet beyond its limits, creating in effect a destructive fusion of economic, social and climate crisis.

Philippines getting nature’s wrath

The Philippines has the highest stake and the strongest case to bring before the on-going United Nation’s Climate talks in Warsaw, Poland. Previous climate talks produced nothing, as the process is dominated by developed countries which are known for committing something yet doing nothing.

The timing is indeed “tragically ironic”, one writer has pointed out. The 19th Conference of Parties (COP) in Poland opened right after the Philippines was hit by the Earth’s strongest typhoon in recent history, leaving thousands of dead out of more than four million people who suffered from what scientists consider a monster storm.

We welcome all international aid and solidarity work coming from Northern countries. This is the least they could do – put their one cent to climate emergencies such as in the Philippines. But we demand more. We want climate justice. Capitalist countries must be held accountable for the climate crisis. They must be forced to pay the climate debt they owe to poor nations.

Capitalist countries, we emphasise, are responsible for the climate crisis. They emit more carbon into the atmosphere – many times over what the poor countries do. The greenhouse gases emitted from capitalist industries drive global temperatures to new levels. This causes climactic reactions like warmer and rising sea levels and eventually leads to the formation of monster typhoons as in the case of Haiyan.

For over a century, capitalists have profited from nature by monetising it rather than protecting its rich natural resources. And the poor people and poor nations suffer the most from the climate crisis created by rich nations. The Philippines is among the topmost vulnerable countries. In fact we have suffered enough from devastating typhoons such as Frank (Fengshen, 2008), Ondoy (Ketsana, 2009), Sendong (Washi, 2011), Pablo (Bopha, 2012), and now Yolanda (Haiyan, 2013). The worst may be yet to come.

State of corruption and free market

What makes the crisis more devastating is that Haiyan struck the Philippines when Filipinos are still reeling from a recent earthquake that killed hundreds of people. The monster storm also came when Filipinos are fighting massive corruption scandals involving a huge amount of public service funds. Corruption in the Philippines reduces the ability of both the national and local governments to respond to climate emergencies of this magnitude because billions of public funds are lost to official scams.

More than that, the ruling class’s embrace of free market ideology since the 1980s has made poor people more vulnerable. The rich therefore are equally responsible and must be held accountable for the peoples’ miserable condition.

Neoliberalism made government rely completely on the private sector to create employment. Public services such as water and power were privatised. Prices of goods and services were deregulated. This resulted in massive unemployment and underemployment (close to 30 percent). Social infrastructure and services are in poor state. The poverty rate remains at 28 percent while hunger affects 19 percent of the population.

Just imagine this number of poor people living in one of the country’s poorest regions facing the wrath of super-typhoons. The post-Haiyan images will speak more of their miserable situation. They really are in dire need of immediate aid and rehabilitation. Many have already resorted to confiscations of available supplies in several stores and malls. We consider those as justified actions and much better if collectively organised to isolate criminal elements and individual push for survival. Where the government fails, the people should collectively rise up.

We therefore warn the government to avoid using force against our helpless people. The people need food, water and homes to stay in, not a police force to quell their spirit to survive. In the first place, a government that fails to eradicate high level corruption has no justifiable reason to use force in suppressing the peoples’ desperate struggle for life.

Appeal for solidarity with Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan victims:

http://www.laborpartyphilippines.org/funddrive

Partido ng Manggagawa (PM)
________________________________________

Philippines: Let our people live! Climate justice now!

By Party of the Laboring Masses (PLM)

The people are still reeling from the impacts of possibly the biggest typhoon to strike the country. Death toll numbers are rising rapidly. There is massive devastation. Many are still trying to contact their relatives, friends and comrades, but communication systems are down, in the hardest hit areas. How should we, as socialists, respond to the crisis?

First, we have to support and take whatever measures are necessary to protect the people. This means all measures that bring the people immediate relief. In the hardest hit city of Tacloban, in South Eastern Visayas, the people are already taking what food and relief supplies that they need from the malls. The media reports this as looting and the break-down of law and order.

But we say: let our people live. This is not "looting". People are taking food, where they can get it, in order to survive. If there is no timely and organised support system from government, people just have to do it themselves and they should organise themselves to do it more effectively. Even some grocery owners understand the need for this. According to one report of a man who broke into a grocery store, "The owner said we can take the food, but not the dried goods. Our situation is so dismal. We have deaths in our family. We need to save our lives. Even money has no use here now.” Where possible, PLM will assist them to organise to take over food supplies and necessary relief goods.

Then there's the issue of the government response. Our experience has been that it has always been too slow and inadequate. Any efforts are undermined by corruption. The exposure of the organised plunder by the political elite and sections of government, of development funds or “pork barrel” funds meant for the people, is a testimony to this. This outraged the country and brought almost half a million people out in to the streets in a massive show of protest on August 26 this year. While one plunderer has been arrested, the president has not responded decisively to clean up the system.

The public funds plundered by the elite should have been used for preventative measures to support the people weather these disasters: for infrastructure, including better sea walls and communication infrastructure; for early warning systems; for well constructed and therefore safe public housing, to replace huts and shacks built out of dried leaves and cardboard; for health and education; for equipment and personnel for rapid emergency response, and the list is endless. But no, this was not the case, it was eaten up by the greed of the elite classes.

Unfortunately, we have no reason to believe that the government and the system will deliver and meet the needs of the people this time round either. The self-interest of the elite, and their control of the government and the system that is designed to perpetuate their interests, through the plunder of the people's assets and resources, renders the entire set-up futile in the face of a disaster on this scale.

Then there are our international "allies", such as the United States government, who have sent us their best wishes. But these "allies", so-called, are also responsible for the situation faced by our people. These typhoons are part of the climate crisis phenomenon faced by the world today. Super Typhoon Haiyan (referred to as Yolanda in the Philippines) was one of the most intense tropical cyclones at landfall on record when it struck the Philippines on November 7. Its maximum sustained winds at landfall were pegged at 195 mph with gusts above 220 mph. Some meteorologists even proclaimed it to be the strongest tropical cyclone at landfall in recorded history. Haiyan’s strength and the duration of its category 5 intensity — the storm remained at peak category 5 intensity for an incredible 48 straight hours.

The still-increasing greenhouse gas emissions responsible for the climate crisis are disproportionately emitted by the rich and developed countries, from the US, Europe to Australia. For centuries, these rich, developed countries have polluted and plundered our societies, emitting too much greenhouse gases to satisfy their greed for profit. They have built countless destructive projects all over the world, like polluting factories, coal-fired power plants, nuclear power plants and mega dams. They have also pushed for policies allowing extractive industries to practice wasteful and irresponsible extraction of the Earth's minerals. They continue to wage environmentally destructive wars and equip war industries, for corporate profits. All of this has fast tracked the devastation of the Earth's ecological system and brought about unprecedented changes in the planet's climate.

But these are the same rich countries whose political elite are ignoring climate change and the climate crisis. Australia has recently elected a government that denies the very existence of climate change and has refused to send even a junior minister to the climate conference in Warsaw, Poland. The question of climate justice –- for the rich countries to bear the burden of taking the necessary measures for stopping it and to pay reparations and compensate those in poorer countries who are suffering the consequences of it -– is not entertained even in a token way.

The way the rich countries demand debt payments from us, we now demand the payment of their “climate debts”, for climate justice and for them to take every necessary measure to cut back their greenhouse gas emission in the shortest time possible.

These rich "friends and allies", so-called, have preached to us about our courage and resilience. But as many here have pointed out, resilience is not just taking all the blows with a smiling face. Resilience is fighting back. To be truly resilient we need to organise, to fight back and to take matters in to our own hands, from the relief efforts on the ground to national government and to challenging and putting an end to the capitalist system. This is the only way to ensure that we are truly resilient.

Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM)

http://www.masa.ph

Donations can be sent to: Transform Asia Gender and Labor Institute
Account No. 304-2-304004562
Swift Code: MBTCPHMM
Metrobank, Anonas Branch Aurora Blvd., Project 4
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Email: transform.asia1@gmail.com
Mobile/cell No. +63(0)9088877702
PayPal donations can be made here: http://transform-asia.org/

________________________________________

Rich Countries: Cut your Emissions Now! Pay your Climate Debts! No to Climate Profiteers!

By Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ)

We, members of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), who came from the grassroots communities and basic sectors and are greatly affected by the irreversible impacts of climate change, strongly urged developed countries to pay-up their climate debts now!

For centuries, these developed countries have polluted and snatched away from developing countries their fair and sustainable share of the atmosphere, emitting too much greenhouse gases to satiate their greed for profit. They have built countless destructive development projects all over the world like air-polluting factories, coal-fired power plants, nuclear power plants, mega dams and others. They have also pushed for policies allowing extractive industries to practice wasteful and irresponsible extraction of the Earth’s minerals. All of these have fast-tracked the devastation of the Earth’s ecological system that brought about unprecedented changes in the planet’s climate.

Since developed countries have contributed much to the problem and have stolen the rightful share of developing countries to the atmosphere, the former have incurred “climate debts” to the latter. Even worse is that while developing countries are low contributors to the problem, they bear the brunt of the impacts of climate change.

Like the way these developed countries (lenders) demanded debt payments from us, developing countries (borrowers), we demand now the payment of their “climate debts”. PMCJ reiterates the need to pay for the developing countries’ full incremental cost of doing climate adaptation and mitigation measures including the loss and damage from climate change impacts. This provision was based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) and historical responsibility enshrined in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

PMCJ’s demand is addressed to the high-level finance experts who will be participating in the First Experts’ Meeting on Long-term Finance (LTF) under the UNFCCC on July 16-17, 2013 at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City. Philippine delegation representative, Commissioner Nadarev Saño, co-chairs the LTF with the representative from Sweden. This meeting will discuss the parameters of pathways for mobilizing scaled-up climate finance and examine enabling environments and policy frameworks in the context of mobilization and effective deployment of climate finance.

In this LTF Meeting, PMCJ will call on the experts to make it as their top priority the mobilization of funds from developed countries to developing countries as payment for their “climate debts”. The climate change-affected communities, marginalized and vulnerable sectors of farmers, fishers, indigenous peoples, rural/urban poor and women are one in demanding these to be paid-up.

PMCJ also urged the developed countries to cut their GHG emissions drastically in the most urgent time possible because no amount of money will be enough if GHG emissions continue to increase.

Currently, the Philippines is the front-liner in disaster impacts and topped the vulnerability rank. In fact, the Philippine Government has been losing annually an average of two (2) percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) due to damages caused by extreme weather events such as Typhoons Ketsana (Ondoy), Bopha (Pablo), Washi (Sendong) and Parma (Pepeng). Worst, the country lost both properties and lives. Many Filipinos have suffered because of these disasters and resources were wasted due to the unpreparedness and inadequacy of funds to address losses, damages and rehabilitation.

Lastly, PMCJ also demands the high-level finance experts to prioritize contributions for public funds rather than putting more money on the private sector facility – funds that are in the form of grants and not loans, and additional to existing development aids. Developed countries, led by the US and EU, are still pushing that the facility will hold funds to be used for leveraging private sector investments, thus putting bias in favor of private capital. This is an added obstacle in realizing the goal of mobilizing climate funds intended for the need of the vulnerable developing countries and communities given the current problem of inadequacy of the current pledges.

For PMCJ, most private sectors involved in the climate crisis do not offer solutions but to profit more.

As a network, we say NO to CLIMATE PROFITEERS!

http://climatejustice.ph/

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/11/18/after_typhoon_ha...calls

2013typhoonhaiyanpmcjphilippinesclimatejustice.jpg

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2013yolandahaiyantaclobanleytephilippines.jpg

2013yolandataclobanleytehaiyanclimatechange.jpg

author by Crazy Catpublication date Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:58Report this post to the editors

NGOs stage unprecedented walk-out from Warsaw climate conference, article from the Irish Times ( or are you allowed to do that? I mean quote and link to the article... seems to me there was some debate about that.)

Anyway, for the moment:

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/ngos-stage-u...03047

If not there is always the Guardian:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/21/wars...-deal

And here is the statement from Eco Watch:

http://ecowatch.com/2013/11/21/mass-walk-out-at-un-clim...tests

author by concernedcitizenoftheplanetpublication date Sun Dec 01, 2013 17:28Report this post to the editors

There is more unpredicablity yet to be showcased in relation to the enviornment/weather,it will get worse not better.

Ice caps are melting due to co2 emissions(everybodys got to own a car or ride the bus) there will be a lot more floods to be seen yet,and anybody who is not living on high ground(at least 24 meters above sea level can forget it).

Africas population is set to increase by 2.4 billion people by 2050,indias population is set to increase by over half and we will see this increase in full swing by about 2050 or as early as 2030 given the rate they are likely to reproduce,remember a generation is about 10 years.

Nobody seems to want to tackle the problem of overpopulation honestly,the only people who benefit from overpopulation are supermarket owners,and those who are interested in selling more ipods/laptops/toilet paper and cars etc.They clearly do not want to tackle this problem.And there is a lot of outright denial out there,which we have a long way to go and crack.

Politicians dont want to tackle it - as more people means more heads to tax,but they will end up paying for the population in the long run through services and welfare etc.

There is already overproduction of meat,(which i have given up recently due to all the horror stories,i just cant bear it),over farming of the land which can drain the soil of essentail minerals and nutrients as they are all drained into the crop.

We have seen the devastating results of overfarming in other countries,why on earth are we doing it here???

The worlds resources are not limitless,toilet paper,money it all comes from trees which are being chopped down at an unprecdented rate,and not being used in a sustainable manner.

Think about it how can it be used in a sustainable manner with billions of people on the planet?

We are fooling ourselves,dont worry just buy another tv and listen to your daily propoganda and hope the floods wont come your way.. :o)

author by Rational Ecologist.publication date Thu Dec 12, 2013 13:09Report this post to the editors

The earth's carrying capacity for humankind is about 2 billion or slightly less! That should put everything in perspective. Exponential economic growth needs more people.
We must stop breeding; it is just the how that is up for discussion.

author by Fiskpublication date Thu Dec 12, 2013 17:30Report this post to the editors

The earth's carrying capacity for humankind is about 2 billion or slightly less!

How do you know this [Question mark]

that's a very definitive statement ye got there.
That should put everything in perspective
.
Only if you can tell us how you know this [exclamation mark] On what do you base your theory of "2 Billion [exclamation mark] - thus far and no further [exclamation mark] " [Question mark]
We must stop breeding;


Who is "we" White-man ? :)

it is just the how that is up for discussion.


Indeed
can't wait to hear what you suggest . . . . . .

author by leftypublication date Thu Dec 12, 2013 22:33Report this post to the editors

The figure is not plucked out of the air as you imply. There is a lot of thought behind it. Here's some reading material which shows the thinking and ideas behind the framework of assumptions necessary for making such an estimate and the logical path that leads to that figure of two billion.

http://jayhanson.us/page99.htm
http://jayhanson.us/page112.htm

It is clearly stated, of course, that this is not the "carrying capacity for saints", i.e, people who are vegans, intelligent, scrupulously stick to regimes of recycling, and are at all times aware, unselfish and conscientious of their resource usage.

Nor is it the short term maximum number that can be crammed onto the planet in a manner that quickly and wastefully destroys the environment and uses up resources. (the current scenario we are heading towards?)

Quote:

"In short, it seems prudent to evaluate the problem of sustainability for selfish, myopic people who are poorly organized politically, socially, and economically."

i.e. us

author by leftypublication date Thu Dec 12, 2013 23:00Report this post to the editors

Just want to add that 1 white person in the US uses on average (conservatively!!) at least 25 times as much in terms of resources as one poor brown person in Africa.

So the cull should definitely start with us! ;-)

Personally I'm not having any kids myself by choice. Just more resource hogging white people and cheap labour for the corporate scumbags destroying the place. I'd rather have no kids than have them born into serfdom and wage slavery for life in a sociopathic corporate mill.
( And that's only if they are among the lucky ones! )

Perhaps we need to make it a better, more equitable and more sustainable world to come to first before we reproduce instead of just instinctually churning out another generation of mindless resource consuming inmates of an unsustainable prison planet.

author by Johnpublication date Wed Dec 25, 2013 12:54Report this post to the editors

The population of white people is a lot lower than blacks or arabs if you want to get into that discussion of race you seem fixated on then lefty please do.

They are in developing countries and use just as much resources as us,cars ,buses and trains,mopeheads etc.

They are not recycle aware and dont recyle goods they just dump them in land fills other poor kids then come to these dumps to sort them out and later recylce what they can for money or work in prostitution.

All that said africas population is huge,in comparison to the western countries,even look at their population in america.

And i wouldnt be quick to suggest culling,i would suggest not feeding them and propping them up,which is one of the main reasons why their populations are so huge and out of control.

author by fredpublication date Wed Dec 25, 2013 17:01Report this post to the editors

Typically racist ignorant comment from John

The fact is we in the west take the resources from third world countries (whom we like to mire in debt straitjackets first). We burn through these resources at a ferocious pace.

Then we dump our electronic, chemical and other waste back in their countries when we are finished with it.

We foment wars, prop up corrupt dictators and supply weapons then sit back until the smoke clears and then negotiate bargain basement rates on their energy and mineral resources. Free from pesky environmental and financial regulations.

We send our huge factory ships to hoover up all their fish, buy up all their prime land for monoculture farming, then leave them to starve, and then moan, like John does, when in desperation, they have few choices except to damage their own environment in order to eke out a meagre living.

If we stayed out of these countries altogether, they would likely be far better off.
We wouldn't though!

author by peacockpublication date Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:51Report this post to the editors

The climate milestone chart shows carbon dioxide level hovering at 400 ppm. It is at a dangerous level and continues to grow.There are parts of china where you literally cannot breathe without putting a mask on your face.If you go into the public restrooms of china you will hear chinese people coughing up and spluttering all over the place.Its not a healthy place to live.We have tested nukes in water,overfishing is happening now in the pacific which was previously practically untouched until fish stocks in other places have simply dwindled down thanks to overfishing.
They are fished even before they can reproduce,which is fishing in an unsustainable way,i no longer feed my cat tuna or eat tuna salads.If we can all and if we all really decided to do our bit as individuals it would help on a massive scale.But alas with the consumer sheep wanting to buy the latest shiny plastic phones tv's,ipods,petrol powered(as opposed to electronic)cars,i really dont see that happening very soon.

author by fredpublication date Thu Dec 26, 2013 13:04Report this post to the editors

Western corporations move to china because of cheap labour and lax environmental laws. It is they that generate much of the pollution. We externalise our pollution on china and other low cost third world economies.

As for electric cars, what about all the batteries? These things are just greenwash, like those awful expensive low wattage fluorescent light bulbs full of mercury powder, a recycling nightmare. The old ones were better in that respect.

So much greenwash marketting and we all swallow it.

The biggest bandit factory ship in the world was actually Irish. The "Atlantic Dawn"

Makes you proud eh?

Yeah right! In the same way Enda or Jackie Healy Rae speaking on our behalf in Europe does

author by Crazy catpublication date Fri Dec 27, 2013 09:50Report this post to the editors

From the Independent European Daily Express:

http://www.iede.co.uk/news/2013_3727/philippines-vortex...-debt

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