From Manila to Glasgow, Filipinos join climate rallies in struggle for survival

Filipino activists hold a demonstration in Glasgow
Glasgow, Scotland
From Manila to Glasgow, Filipinos join climate rallies in struggle for survival

From Quezon City in the Philippines to Glasgow in the United Kingdom, Filipino climate activists braved the rain and the threat of the pandemic to demand drastic emission cuts as well as assistance for communities already affected by climate change.

In Glasgow, rain and wind did not stop tens of thousands of protesters from marching across the city hosting COP26, the United Nations climate conference, on Saturday as part of the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice.

Ahead of the massive protest, Filipino activists and migrants along with campaigners from the Global South—low income nations hit most by the effects of a warming planet—gathered at the city’s Kelvingrove Park.

They called for immediate and just emission reduction pathways as well as just compensation from wealthy nations and large corporations.

“Those are the two main things that we’re asking for or demanding world leaders right now. They’re not delivering at all. We’re not even receiving the bare minimum when it comes to our demands,” said Jon Bonifacio, an activist with the Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP).

filipino activist hold a placard
Filipino climate activist Jefferson Estela joins the massive climate protest in Glasgow, United Kingdom. Credit: Gaea Katreena Cabico

Beverly Longid, global coordinator of the International Indigenous Peoples Movement (IPMSDL), said logistical difficulties and the inability to access the conference are excluding the voices of those most affected by climate change, including indigenous peoples.

But she stressed the struggles of the indigenous peoples go beyond COP26.

“Rain or shine, cold or warm, the struggle continues to protect the people and the planet,” she said as the rain poured.

On Friday, people of all ages demanding a better future took over the streets of Glasgow in a youth-led march. During the event, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg labeled the climate conference a “failure” and a “global north greenwash event.”

‘Survival in a drowning world’

Back home, Filipino activists marched from the University of the Philippines in Diliman to the Commission of Human Rights in Quezon City to demand accountability and action.

“We’re here today to amplify [the] voices of [our colleagues] in Glasgow and really show that yes, this nightmare is really happening, and we need to wake up now,” YACAP national coordinator Xian Guevarra said.

“We march today to remind COP26 leaders that this is a matter of our people’s survival in this drowning world,” said Leon Dulce, national coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment.

“We need real carbon emission cuts and just compensation from the top polluter nations and corporations, not in 10 or 30 years when many Filipinos will have already been submerged by floods, receding coasts, and rising seas, but right now,” he added.

Saturday’s global march was held a day before the eighth anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), which claimed the lives of at least 6,000 people. More than a thousand remained missing after it wreaked havoc in central Philippines.

“COP26 is an opportunity to address losses and damages, both for humanity and ecosystems. Climate action is not only about common but differentiated responsibilities but a collective conscience and uncompromised moral imperative towards intergenerational justice, equity and common good,” said Rodne Galicha, executive director of Living Laudato Si’ Philippines.

This story was originally published at on November 7, 2021. It was produced as part of the 2021 Climate Change Media Partnership, a journalism fellowship organized by Internews' Earth Journalism Network and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security.

Banner image: Filipino climate advocates and migrants gather at Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow, United Kingdom ahead of a massive protest in the city on November 6, 2021 / Credit: Gaea Katreena Cabico.

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