Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG)
July 2023 Monthly Political Analysis
02 August 2023


Danger signs in the economy, weak state, foreign policy sell-out

In retrospect, the high point of July is President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA), a yearly event where the sitting president reports to the nation on his accomplishments as chief executive. Marcos Jr. gave a long discourse on the state of the country’s economy but fell short of reporting on the state of foreign affairs – a subject which was much anticipated by the diplomatic corps who listened to his SONA inside the presidential palace. Nothing was also heard about corruption, human rights, and peace talks with the Leftist armed revolutionary movement. Four days before Marcos Jr.’s address, the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) held its 15th State of the Presidency (SOP) during a well-covered press forum. This will be the subject of a discussion later in this paper.

Maharlika Investment Fund

In domestic affairs, Marcos Jr. approved on July 18 the bicameral bill Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) which drew flak from critics. Economists from the premier University of the Philippines said the fund was signed into law way too fast by international standards where other countries take years and was railroaded without consulting the public whose money will be put into the fund. Further, they averred, Maharlika “violates fundamental principles of economics and finance and poses serious risks to the economy and the public sector.” It is quite concerning, they said, that the MIF bill contained no provisions regarding bankruptcy and resolution. “This might mean that, implicitly, the Philippine government will still shoulder in the end any liabilities or losses that may arise from the MIF” and may very well add to the country’s already huge debt burden and crowd out funds for key government programs and investments.

On a fair note, the President signed the New Agrarian Emancipation Act that condones over PhP57-billion worth of loans of more than 600,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs). The agrarian reform secretary said 32,441 land titles will be given to 27,132 beneficiaries nationwide. The titles cover 1,173,101.575 hectares of agrarian reform lands.
Not articulated in the President’s SONA was the state of corruption or at least what he envisioned to do with the bureaucratic malady that continues to drain the country’s scarce resources through so-called development projects, infrastructure development, and other channels. In its 2022 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) last February, the Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) watchdog ranked the Philippines 116th of 180 countries scoring 33 points on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). From 2012 to 2020, the Philippines teetered between the scores 34 and 38. Former President Benigno Aquino III (2010-2016) bannered his presidency as “transformative” (“kung walang korap, walang mahirap” / no corruption, no poverty) but ended up as an administration with some of the worst corruption cases exemplified by the congressional pork barrel concealed under “development projects” and the highly-sensational Napoles scam which involved ranking congressional leaders, among others.

Other disappointing notes in the SONA are: inflation, a priority concern of 63% Filipinos; GDP growth down to 6.4% in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the more Human Development Index (HDI) growth indicator which at 0.718 placed the Philippines 107th in the world (compared to Singapore’s 0.938); and the rise of foreign debt to PhP14.15 trillion indicating higher government spending against earnings. Among ASEAN, the Philippines continues to trail its peer neighbors Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Human Rights

Human rights is an issue that germinated during the Marcos Sr. years – 1970s – at a time when a culture of impunity in state atrocities became a national and international concern. For 50 years since then, the culture of impunity which involves state security forces with mounting cases of human rights violations – many of them unsolved to this day – continues to gain traction. In July this year, rights defenders appealed to the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) anew to investigate human rights violations under President Marcos, Jr. The Center for Environmental Concerns, Coalition for People’s Right to Health, Council for Health and Development, IBON Foundation, Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement), and National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers trooped to the UN for the 53rd HRC meeting with UN member states scheduled from June 19-July 14. As part of the Philippines’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Watch network the non-state delegation reported on continuing rights abuses and lack of accountability amid a continuing economic crisis under the first year of the Marcos Jr. presidency.

Hundreds killed in drug war during Marcos’ 1st year
Proof that the culture of impunity still holds away is that there is no respite in the extra-judicial killing (EJK) of suspected drug users involving police authorities. A study, “Dahas Project” (literally, project on violence) of the University of the Philippines’ Third World Studies Center from July 22 to June 2023, highlighted the fact that “…violence continues well into the new administration as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr… and closes his first year in office with more than 300 deaths allegedly related to the continuing war on drugs.” At least 342 drug-related killings were recorded from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 of which 115 persons were killed during anti-illegal drug operations conducted by the government, including the Philippine National Police (PNP). This number, the report said, increases to 146 by including those killed by state agents outside of anti-illegal drug operations, but were later found to have links to illegal drugs. 
Marcos, on the other hand, reiterated that although the government’s fight against illegal drugs will continue it has “taken on a new face.” He said it is now geared “to community-based treatment, rehabilitation, education, and reintegration”. He also vowed to shut down illegal drug activities and dismantle the network operations of drug syndicates. Unscrupulous law enforcers and others involved in the drug trade have been exposed and he will be accepting their resignations, the president said.

ICC rejects Philippine attempt to block drugs war probe

Complaints of crimes against humanity have been brought to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by families of victims and rights organizations against President Duterte and other alleged perpetrators and accomplices including a former police chief and now a senator, Ronald dela Rosa. The case is a legal battleground where the Philippine government has built a somewhat impregnable wall in an effort to save Duterte – a close political ally and supporter of Marcos, Jr. – from the ICC where a number of accused state leaders have been convicted.

The Hague-based ICC on July 18 rejected an appeal by the Marcos government to block an investigation by prosecutors into former President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody “war on drugs.” ICC Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut said the dismissal by the Hague-based court means the Philippines has exhausted its options to appeal. Duterte’s administration and its successor under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. have pushed back against the ICC’s probe into drug war killings in the country, denouncing the investigations as unjust.

The Philippines by ratification was the 117th member-signatory to the ICC in 2014 until Duterte withdrew the country’s membership in 2018 after the court began probing his drug war. Under the ICC’s withdrawal mechanism, however, the court keeps jurisdiction over crimes committed during the membership period of a state – in this case, between 2016 until 2019, when the Philippines’ pullout became official.

In response, Marcos Jr., who succeeded Duterte last year, said the country will “disengage” from any contact with the ICC, as Manila does not recognize its authority over matters of national sovereignty. A day before the judgment, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said the Philippine government will not execute arrest warrants issued by the ICC if it proceeds with the investigation, stressing that the country has its own legal system to handle drug crimes. In 2008, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, instituted legal interventions like the issuance of writs of habeas data and Amparo in the light of the weaknesses of the country’s criminal justice system particularly on human rights. The poor performance of the justice system is aggravated by an inability to protect lawyers and rights volunteers from being silenced by suspected state assailants.



In the 15th State of the Presidency (SOP) held on July 20 at a press briefing, CenPEG Fellows proffered their collective assessment of Marcos, Jr.’s first year in his 6-year term measured in terms of presidential leadership, economic management, foreign relations policy, and performance in climate change mitigation and commitment to global agreements leading to zero-carbon emission.

Presidential leadership

On “Presidential Leadership and Transactional Politics,” CenPEG observed a fixation on rebranding the Marcos family image as indicated by the revival of failed projects of the ousted Marcos Sr. dictatorship including Masagana 99, Kadiwa, “Bagong Pilipinas”, etc. There was, in addition, no clear repudiation of the worst practices of the Duterte administration, especially the massive human rights abuses and repression of civil liberties. Marcos’s first year also showed a lack of urgency in addressing the most urgent issues in the aftermath of the pandemic: health, education, agriculture, inflation, and employment. As in the past, there were signs of new cronies and recycled technocrats alongside a stronger political dynastic presence. Other indicators: Misallocation and misuse of scarce resources such as in the Maharlika Investment Fund and unaccountable intelligence funds; very poor record in passing the president’s priority measures and bills; and early signs of disunity in the ruling coalition.

Marcos’s first year also exposed the absence of reforms in addressing the country’s weak state institutions, such as: professionalizing the civilian and military-police bureaucracies; continuing reports of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) “shabu” (illegal drug) scandal; lack of amendments to the terms of office of highest-ranked military officers, and proposed pension reforms for uniformed personnel. Also noted was the continuing endemic corruption in national government agencies; low absorptive capacity of almost all government agencies; continuing poor rankings in World Competitiveness Index, the Transparency International Corruption Index, and the UNDP Human Development Index.

The President’s “Unity Call” was more a rhetoric than reality, as underscored by the continuing repression of basic civil and human rights: red-tagging, abductions, targeted killings of dissenters, and the legal opposition; rejection of the ICC’s participation in the investigation and trial of the drug killings under Duterte; weaponizing the law (the Anti-Terrorism Act and the NTF-ELCAC); and unrelenting military response to the armed conflict; no signals for the resumption of peace talks.

Managing the Philippine economy

The Philippine economy under Marcos, Jr. brought to light danger signals including: 1) No clear plans in Marcos, Jr.’s Philippine Development Plan (PDP, 2023-2028) to reduce income inequality, amid a high Gini coefficient of 40.7, despite a claimed target of reducing poverty from 16% (2022) to 8-9% (2026); 2) Trade deficit – there is a heavier foreign debt burden fueled by BOP deficits and corrupt, profligate government spending; 3) Need for solid economic contingencies for the El Niňo water crisis in agriculture and industry, and to prepare for more intense effects of climate change; 4) Saturation and exhaustion of blue collar export markets; “Dutch disease” dependence on overseas Filipino workers (OFW) remittances and consumerism, tourism, weak disaster resilience (earthquakes, typhoons, volcanic eruptions); and 5) No strategic response to two most critical developments – raging, on and off, trade and economic tensions between the US and China, the country’s major partners. There is also a need for a coherent policy response to the challenges of AI, robotics and technology draining away income, productivity, and leading to the de-skilling of workers, alongside the destruction of routine manual jobs.

Finally, the country has no viable “Made in the Philippines” manufacturing and trade policy and action strategy. The Marcos economic team remains in an ad hoc mode especially in agriculture. There is likewise a lack of focus on pivotal agenda for economic development such as a solid industrial policy to address industrial structural issues. There are, instead, temporary solutions and incoherent actions in responding to persistent agricultural weaknesses particularly rice and sugar, vegetables, poultry and meat as well as fisheries. Agricultural cartels and smuggling syndicates are still in place. An environment-friendly “blue industrial economy” – harvesting energy from abundant archipelagic-wide ocean currents, a sustainable fisheries and aquatic resources policy, and boosting domestic shipping, passenger, nautical highway, and logistics transport sector - is a promising area.

Marcos’ Foreign Policy

President Marcos, Jr.’s first year of presidency showed no signs of shifting significantly from more than seven decades of Philippine foreign policy which is decisively US-leaning with a high degree of dependency particularly on defense. To be specific, in 1947, the two countries forged a military bases agreement (MBA) allowing the US to operate two big military bases – the Clark air force base in Angeles, Pampanga and the Subic naval base in Olongapo City, claimed to be the biggest naval facility outside the US mainland. In 1951, the Mutual Defense Pact (MDP) became a mother treaty which calls for mutual support in case of external aggression. Subsequently, more agreements were signed including the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA, 1999) allowing the entry of US forces in any part of the Philippines for joint military drills. The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA, 2014) opened Philippine military facilities to US forces and weapons with, at first, five locations and four new ones under Marcos, Jr. three of them proximate to the Taiwan Straits where Taiwan, an island province of China, enjoys continuing US military aid thus undermining the reunification process in blatant violation of the One-China principle which was adhered to by the US upon the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries in the Shanghai communique of 1972.  (Sounding ambiguous, Marcos Jr. clarified that no EDCA sites will be allowed to store US weaponry to be used in case of an armed conflict over Taiwan.)

All the treaties entered into with the US since the late 1940s and recent ones dragged the Philippines into supporting US wars of aggression including the Korean War, the Indochina War, the US’s war on terror which saw southern Philippines as a “second front” placing the Philippines vulnerable to reprisals from America’s enemies.

To recall, former President Duterte pursued a policy of “appeasement” with China for economic exigencies under which relations between Manila and Beijing were raised to a “comprehensive and strategic partnership and cooperation” level which yielded unprecedented economic agreements in favor of the Philippines. At the same time, however, Duterte continued to honor defense treaties with the US and in fact agreed to increase the number of joint Balikatan “shoulder-to-shoulder” war drills.

President Marcos Jr. (July 2022 to present) reaffirmed a strong defense commitment with US President Joe Biden including the 1951 MDP while increasing the number of EDCA sites from 5 to 9 (with the last 3 targeting China in the Taiwan Straits). Marcos Jr. also agreed to a Bilateral Defense Guidelines which call for alliance coordination and interoperability in the South China Sea. In the works are multilateral alliances (“hub and spoke”) with the U.S., Japan, and Australia. This year, the Philippines joined the US and Australia for the first trilateral coast guard exercise. In addition, Australia has pledged to provide drones, training, and other technologies for the Philippines. In an unprecedented move Japan is providing official development assistance (ODA) in the form of military aid to the Philippines. The US has over $1B in arms sales with the Philippines and committed an additional $100 million for foreign military financing last October. Under Marcos, Jr. the Philippines has become a new force in the US’ Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) as part of the US containment and encirclement strategy against China.

Clearly, the Marcos government has embedded itself into a deeper defense alliance with the US on a pivot to the US strategy with an infusion of military aid, expanded US military presence and extended alliances with countries already aligned with the US over China.


Comparatively, the Philippine president’s state visit in Beijing in January 2023 yielded 14 economic cooperation deals. One of the major documents was an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with a focus on bilateral cooperation in infrastructure projects. The signing of the MoU provided an institutional guarantee for future cooperation between the two countries. Also, the two countries signed documents on several major infrastructure projects, including the Framework Agreement on Priority Bridges Crossing Pasig-Marikina River and Manggahan Floodway Bridges Construction.

Also discussed were loan agreements that would support Philippine infrastructure development and further strengthen infrastructure cooperation with big projects such as Davao-Samal Island Bridge in southern Philippines. Both sides also vowed to expand cooperation in the energy sector by, for instance, resuming discussions on oil and gas development exploring cooperation in solar-power, wind energy, electric vehicles, and nuclear energy for electricity generation. Further, they agreed to strengthen agricultural cooperation, with several corresponding documents being signed, including the Action Plan on Agriculture and Fisheries Cooperation (2023-25), the handover certificate of Sino-Philippine Center for Agricultural Technology-Technical Cooperation Program Phase III, and the Protocol Agreeing on the Phytosanitary Requirements for Philippine Fresh Durian Exports to China.

China has been the Philippines’ largest trading partner for six consecutive years, while the value of new contracts signed by Chinese firms in the Philippines nearly tripled and the annual scale has exceeded $10 billion, according to the China-ASEAN Business Council.

Finally on maritime security, a deal for a communication mechanism on maritime issues between the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) which is a follow-through to a similar agreement signed in 2017.

Balancing strategy?

Separating the chaff from the grain, defense mechanisms welded into a strong alliance with the US and latest policy decisions and defense appointments of President Marcos Jr. far outweigh whatever efforts are made toward a friendly and cooperative relations with China. To illustrate, President Marcos, Jr. on July 22 appointed Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner, Jr. as new armed forces chief directing him “to ensure the security of Filipinos and the national sovereignty of our country.” Brawner said he would focus on both internal security - “defeating the remaining local terrorist groups and the communist terrorist group to attain total victory” - and external security, through which the AFP’s modernization will “enable it to be a lethal and competent fighting force … defending our territory from external aggression.”

Gen. (ret.) Andres Centino, whom Brawner replaced as AFP chief, was reappointed by Marcos Jr. as presidential adviser on the West Philippine Sea (WPS). Centino said the National Task Force-West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS), established in 2016, will address territorial disputes on a bigger scale. The new task force chief also said he was advised by the president to give more focus on geopolitical issues.

The orders given to Brawner and Centino for a stronger stance against Chinese “maritime incursions” and protecting the country’s territorial integrity are augmented by Secretary Enrique Manalo at the DFA. On several occasions, Manalo has reaffirmed the Marcos government’s commitment to uphold the 2016 Arbitral Award in favor of the Philippines. The award, he said, ruled that China’s claims under the so-called nine-dash line are illegal, and “is now part of international law.” Under his watch as foreign secretary, his department has filed 97 diplomatic protests over China’s alleged presence and activities in the West Philippine Sea, including 30 lodged in 2023.

Philippine authorities cited recent reports of “incursion” by Chinese vessels and presence of suspected Chinese Maritime Militia in several parts of the WPS.

    Under the Marcos government, the prepositioning of US forces and weaponry at the EDCA sites ties in closely with Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro’s plan to upgrade Philippine bases with EDCA facilities which are “essential to the integrity of our credible deterrent posture and Philippine territorial security.” In July, Teodoro divulged that the government was monitoring daily for a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan where 150,000 Filipinos live and work. The Philippines’ strategic location is central to the US aim of deterring a possible Chinese attack on the island despite denials by both Manila and Washington that the flurry of activities at Philippine bases had anything to do with Taiwan.

Philippine military flexing muscles

As in previous administrations, the Philippine military establishment lends a consequential voice in the configuration of bilateral ties with either the US or China. For one, the Philippine military continues to maintain strong ties with the US given the billions of dollars’ worth of continuing military aid, arms deliveries, special training and modernization that it receives and through high-level consultations with the Pentagon. Philippine presidents including Duterte defer to the organizational interests of the military whose position, in epochal times such as civilian uprisings, became the game-changer in critical moments. The military is a high priority in terms of annual appropriations, high salaries, promotions, and other privileges. Marcos Jr. needs the US-leaning military in maintaining strong security relations with Washington that lend political and military support to the sitting president. (His father, Marcos, Sr., enjoyed full US support during the dictatorship years until he became a liability amid a massive anti-dictatorship movement after 1983 and the rise of the armed Left. The US dropped its support for Marcos in favor of a “Third Force” led by Corazon C. Aquino.)

Inevitably, the Philippine military’s deeply-entrenched traditional ties with the US which has declared China an “existential threat” to American global hegemony, dictate its hardline policy on Beijing’s maritime claims and alleged militarization in the South China Sea / West Philippine Sea. Although the Philippines’ navy and coast guard operate in the waters to deter Chinese “incursions” they also serve to support the US air and naval operations under the so-called Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPS).

Marcos Jr.’s foreign policy is soldered on a strong but traditional “national security policy” aimed at increasing the capacity of the state to protect its citizens from military attacks or external aggression. (By looking at the mirror, it will realize that the “external enemy” has actually been rooted in the Philippines and is riding roughshod on its sovereignty and territorial integrity as earlier mentioned in this paper.) The policy echoes the US’ military-centered foreign policy which has been pursued as well through decades in many hot spots of Asia and other regions including in the ongoing Ukraine war which was precipitated by the US-instigated NATO march toward Russia farther to Ukraine which Moscow considered a red line provoking the latter’s special military operations in February 2022. But in the present-day 21st century, national security includes non-military or non-traditional aspects such as economic security, environmental security, food security, energy security, cyber security, and protection from crime and terrorism.

Appointed early in the Marcos presidency as National Security Adviser (NSA) University of the Philippines Prof. Clarita Carlos articulated the unorthodox modern national security paradigm. In no time, the military hierarchy moved for her sacking along with her deputy, Rommel Banlaoi, who was perceived by the generals as “pro-China”. Carlos has since been replaced by Eduardo Aňo, a former armed forces chief.
This attests to a strong clout and influence exercised by the military on foreign policy matters upon which the president should acquiesce.


The issue of maritime disputes with China has reverberated in the Senate with one member, opposition senator Risa Hontiveros, calling for a resolution to bring the conflict to the UN General Assembly and for its own adoption of a measure supporting the 2016 arbitral award. Challenging the proposal, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, a former foreign secretary under Duterte, asked why it specifically called out China when other countries like Vietnam and Malaysia “are also taking advantage of Philippine waters.” The Senate action, which is backed by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, finds no support from the President himself who interjected how a legislative resolution could be entertained by the UNGA which welcomes representation only from governments and not legislatures.
Nevertheless, on August 1, the Senate adopted Resolution 718 calling on the DFA to continue holding dialogues with the Chinese government to push for recognition and respect of the Philippines' sovereign rights over its EEZ. If such efforts are continuously ignored by China, the DFA, according to the resolution, is further urged to pursue the following: 
1. Bring international attention to China's “harassment” of Filipino fishermen in the Philippine EEZ and its continued violation of the Hague Ruling;

2. Use international fora to rally multilateral support for the enforcement of the Hague Ruling; 

3. Engage like-minded countries in various international organizations, meetings, and other fora to call on China to respect the Hague Ruling and the UNCLOS;

4. File a resolution before the UNGA, to call for the cessation of all activities that “harass” Philippine vessels and violate the Philippines' established rights in the West Philippine Sea. 

5. Pursue other diplomatic modes as the Department of Foreign Affairs may deem appropriate and necessary.

Although the resolution essentially provides nothing new that the DFA has not done with respect to the issue, it bears the imprimatur of the Senate. It remains to be seen whether the action is mandatory on the DFA as the department is under the presidential office which is co-equal to Congress.

    Zubiri’s support for Hontiveros’ proposal was correlated with his prior talks with US officials. Before the Senate debate on raising the arbitral tribunal issue to the UNGA, Zubiri had admitted meeting top US officials including US state undersecretary for political affairs Victoria Nuland as well as Congress leaders while on a visit in Washington, DC. His meeting with Nuland dealt on defense and economic matters, Zubiri said. (Nuland is a ring leader in the US intervention in Ukraine amid NATO’s creeping march to western Russia through Ukraine which provoked Moscow’s special military operations on the neighboring country in February 2022.) The senate president’s meetings with neo-conservative Congress leaders involved arms modernization and US investments in weapons manufacturing in the Philippines.

In the final analysis, Marcos Jr.’s foreign policy on China lacks the intensity and resolve that is unique to his security ties with the US which appear to be hostile to Beijing. Such foreign policy track is ill-informed, intractable, and not grounded on the realities of tectonic shifts in the regional and world power equation – the rise of new powers and multipolarism relative to the decline of American hegemonic power. The unequivocal defense alliance with the US is dragging the Philippines to an unwanted war with a foreign power and is therefore dangerous and risky and could impact currently sound economic ties with Beijing.

All these are unfolding in the backdrop of a new US military aid to Taiwan worth $345M. A new defense white paper of Japan, another close US ally, has named China as a “military threat” threatening peace and security in the region. Japan’s new aggressive policy has been denounced for being in violation of its own “pacifist” constitution and constitutes a new cold war mentality.

Foreign policy differences with Duterte

One of Marcos Jr.’s avid supporters in his May 2022 presidential race has openly declared policy divergences on the US and China. In a recent television interview, former President Duterte warned that Marcos Jr.’s foreign policy, particularly his government’s enhanced defense cooperation with the United States, is imperiling the Philippines. Duterte revealed that his Chinese contacts had recently expressed their grave concerns about the newly-expanded Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which grants the US Pentagon expanded access across various military bases close to the South China Sea as well as Taiwan. According to Duterte, China’s envoy in Manila warned that if the defense pact enables “aggression against Beijing, [then] the Philippines would always be a target.”

Duterte’s remarks came in the wake of his July 17 Beijing meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping who expressed his appreciation over the former’s important contributions to friendly exchanges between the two countries. Xi expressed hope that “Duterte will continue to play an important role in the friendly cooperation between the two countries.”

Marcos Jr. government’s climate change program

The Marcos government increased the climate change budget in 2023 to PhP453.1B for adaptation and mitigation programs – a 56% increase from the previous year’s budget. Among other agencies, the budget was allocated to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Transportation (DoTr), and Department of Agriculture (DA) with Marcos himself as concurrent secretary. In his second SONA on July 24, Marcos, Jr. offered no report on the state of government response to the climate crisis. The concerned departments are expected to publish their annual report on climate change programs by end-2023.

So far, as a participant in the Global ecosystem of action the Philippines has passed the Climate Change Act of 9729 and the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP). Act 9729 called for building climate-resilient infrastructure programs; and a transition to more renewable energy. Rationally, the action plan focuses on food security; water sufficiency; ecosystem and environmental stability; human security; climate-smart industries; sustainable energy; and knowledge and capacity development.

As a policy direction and given the immense responsibility of mitigating the climate emergency, CenPEG in its June 20 SOP called for a cabinet-level Department of Climate Change which will supervise and coordinate all government responses on climate change in partnership with CSOs and other public institutions for a more coherent and synchronized intervention.

Being a developing country with scarce resources and limited technologies, it would take generations for the Philippines to meet its climate change goals or at least catch up with early initiatives taken by China, the US, and a few European states to reach zero-carbon emission targets and transform their countries into green economies. Rather than just a matter of allocating budgets and other resources the overarching goal calls for having a transformative, people-centered, and nature-friendly governance which has yet to be seen in the country on a significant scale.


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