A successful US trip for Marcos

Portentous. Several days after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. called for an end to climate injustice in his speech at the 77th United Nations General Assembly, the Philippines found itself in the eye of another super typhoon. He took the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters to task for making the country the fourth most prone to climate-induced disasters.

That said, our Chief Executive also reminded the international community that lasting peace to avert another catastrophic world war is the raison d’etre of the United Nations. His meeting with United States President Joe Biden points to a reforging of ties between our nations. And true to their promise, the US government respected the President’s immunity as a sovereign head of state during his working visit. I believe PBBM had an auspicious debut as a statesman on the world stage.

Highlighting climate accountability

The Philippines, like other developing nations in Asia and Africa, has been paying for the climate sins of industrialized economies. As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres puts it, the poor and vulnerable are always the first to suffer and are the worst hit by climate change.

Thus, the President was correct in urging major climate change contributors to cut their GHG emissions, provide climate financing, and technology transfer for adaptation to the most vulnerable countries. These industrialized nations are bound by international treaties and agreements in the first place.

Typhoon “Karding” is the 11th storm to enter our area of responsibility since January. Our state weather bureau PAGASA said we should expect at least 11 more typhoons to hit the country before the year ends. The government, led by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, is extending emergency rescue and assistance to our affected kababayans in Luzon. I hope for their immediate recovery and rehabilitation from this disaster.

All of us have witnessed the cataclysmic damage brought by tropical cyclones “Ondoy,” “Yolanda,” and very recently, “Odette.” I coordinated with local officials and community leaders in distributing relief aid to “Odette” victims in the Visayas and Mindanao for several months. So, I am aware of the post-disaster sufferings of these people.

For abetting the climate crisis, I have encouraged our government to file civil damage cases against industrialized countries before an appropriate international court. Extreme weather conditions have victimized millions of Filipinos yearly. Global warming has resulted in rising sea levels, which puts the country’s archipelagic territory and land mass at risk. One of the component elements of a state is territory. In its absence, it is improbable for a state to exercise the absolute power of a sovereign nation. Our archipelago has 7,641 islands. Should we wait for the sea to swallow up most of them until we only have 1,700?

Successful US trip

In his speech, PBBM enjoined all member states to adhere to the UN Charter in settling disputes between states. Article 2 prohibits members from the use of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of any state.

As demonstrated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the world inevitably suffers whenever countries resort to war. A recent UN Development Program study disclosed that the conflict’s inflationary impacts on global food and fuel have plunged 71 million people into poverty. According to the International Monetary Fund, we are on the brink of another global recession due to the conflict and the Covid-19 pandemic. Let me remind government critics that the spiraling cost of petroleum products and prime commodities is not only happening in the Philippines.

I like that the President underlined the nation’s march toward upper middle income status within the next two years. This milestone reflects our steady economic growth, which should translate into food security, better employment and improved quality of life for Filipinos. He also courted support for the country’s candidature to the Security Council for 2027-2028.

Meanwhile, his meetings with President Biden at the UNGA and American investors at the New York Stock Exchange bode well for the country as a top-notch investment destination. PBBM was among the few world leaders that Biden agreed to meet. America has been our traditional biggest trade partner. China and Japan, however, overtook it in recent times. A strong bilateral trade with the US would mean more investments in the Philippines.

The US government has also acknowledged the immunity from suit that PBBM enjoys relative to the contempt judgment against him by an American federal court. It has not always been the case. The US courts, through domestic legislation, have opted for a restrictive application of immunity of a head of state. I can say that the Biden administration wants to foster good relations with the Marcos government.

Overall, the President is on the right track toward carving his name as a world leader. It is reminiscent yet distinct from his late father and namesake. When he prefaced his UNGA address with an introduction of himself, he was telling the world to judge him not by the acts of his ancestors but by his own. He needs the support of every Filipino.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *