THE Philippine Government has called for an increased budget from developed countries to fund efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, which according to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. “affects mostly the least responsible” countries, including the Philippines.

During the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHCR) regular Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday, November 16, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla reiterated the country’s call for climate justice and accountability from developed countries to accomplish global climate change initiatives.

“The Philippines reiterates its call for climate justice — for developed countries to increase financing for mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage for developing countries. We expect nothing less from our friends and partners that have been the beacon of human rights and justice the world over,” said Remulla.

“Environmental rights defenders are partners in promoting climate goals, and their freedom and safety should certainly be protected. But let us not lose sight of the bigger issue, which is, that all countries must faithfully and urgently fulfill their international obligations on climate action,” he added.

In his speech at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Marcos called for stronger global cooperation to address climate change, which he described as “the greatest threat of the world.”

He called on the industrialized countries to immediately fulfill their obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, provide climate financing and technology transfer for adaptation for the most vulnerable and developing countries to lead by example.

Remulla also reiterated that the Philippine maintains a vibrant democracy where freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly are protected amid concerns over the safety of human rights defenders and journalists.

“Claims of a shrinking civic and media space are unfounded. They arise from a particular politico-security context that is oftentimes overlooked by those that view the Philippines from afar,” he said.

Remulla said the communist insurgents and their supporters blur the lines between civic activism and armed violence as they use human rights to advance their violent agenda.

He said they were claiming red-tagging and reprisal “when the State exercises its duty to protect the human rights to life, liberty, security of persons and property and to preserve national security and safeguard the democratic order.”

The secretary of justice urged the UN to exercise due diligence in accepting allegations against the Philippines from various sources.

“The Philippine Government is determined to end this problem by addressing its root causes through a whole-of-nation strategy anchored on good governance, rule of law, social justice that will effectively uplift human dignity, and the quest for lasting peace,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)