Greenpeace Philippines joins SONA protests, calls for Duterte administration to put citizens, particularly youth, first

Greenpeace Philippines today joined the broad, multi-sectoral protest at the University of the Philippines ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA). Along with other groups, Greenpeace is calling out the Duterte administration for failing to bring about more inclusive, people-centered, responsible and accountable governance, especially in light of its militarized response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and attempts to silence critical opinion and dissent.

The environmental group joined the peaceful protest taking care to strictly adhere to physical distancing guidelines, proper face coverings, use of sanitizers, periodic physical checks, and other health and safety measures.

Greenpeace is calling on President Duterte to ensure a recovery from the COVID pandemic that will transform our economy and society to tackle the climate crisis and promote positive environmental and health outcomes.

Last Friday, Greenpeace supported youth leaders from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao in their call for the Duterte administration to enable a green and just ‘Better Normal’ that puts the interests of the people, especially the youth, front and center.

Filipino youth ask Duterte: ensure a just & green #BetterNormal

Ahead of the SONA 2020, the Filipino youth are sending a message to President Duterte, to put the interests of the people, especially of the youth, front and center of government plans.Watch the full video >> the #BetterNormalYouthAgenda >>

Posted by Greenpeace Philippines on Sunday, July 26, 2020

Kisha Muana, Greenpeace Philippines campaigner, said: “Even before COVID-19, young Filipinos were already facing a very challenging present and difficult future with impacts from the climate emergency, food insecurity, plastic and other waste problems. But this pandemic is more quickly exposing the broken systems that need to be fixed. It’s becoming ever clearer that we do not need a government that preoccupies itself with silencing valid criticisms and feedback, and making empty promises. We need a government that is willing to listen to the people and make them partners in nation-building. We demand that the Duterte administration heed the call of the youth. We need to work together for a future anchored on an inclusive, just and peaceful better normal for people and the planet.”

During the activity, Greenpeace activists supported local visual artists in unfurling a giant banner with the message “activism is not terrorism” in baybayin. They also carried signs that summarize the calls made by Filipino youth for the President to put “people at the center” of government plans and decisions in order to achieve a “better normal.” The calls by young Filipinos are embodied in a youth declaration released last week, called the “Better Normal Youth Agenda.”

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