Statement of The Climate Reality Project Philippines on President Marcos’ 2023 State of the Nation Address

There is no real economic development without addressing the prevailing climate crisis.


We welcome President Marcos’ pronouncements recognizing the need to climate-proof the country’s economic agenda and his commitment to global decarbonization goals.

We challenge the President to not just talk the talk, but also walk the walk. We look forward to seeing concrete programs and policies that will accelerate the Philippines’ transition into a low-carbon economy.

Specifically, we urge the President to:

(1) Develop a comprehensive roadmap for implementing our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement

Our first NDC stated that the Philippines shall reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 75 percent. However, since that commitment was made in 2021, the government has not provided stakeholders detailed projects, financing, and timetables for achieving this target.

(2) Modernize our power grid to harness distributed, cheaper, and more reliable power from renewable energy

We fully agree with the President that renewable energy is the way forward for the country.

Imported coal has driven up electricity costs in the country to be among the highest in the region and Asia. Intermittent coal-fired power plants have also caused power outages, adding burden to consumers. We await the administration’s plans to finally put an end to this era of coal.

We, however, lament his pronouncement on pursuing more gas exploration efforts in the country.

Fossil gas, like coal,  is not clean and sustainable. It is a costly fuel, its prices are volatile, and it is not seen to lower electricity rates in the Philippines. It is largely composed of methane, which has about 30 times the global warming potential than carbon dioxide. Instead of gas exploration, investments should be channeled to renewable energy projects.

(3) Ban single-use plastics

We heard buzzwords, such as circular economy and blue economy, but we can never truly step towards these directions without truly addressing the root cause of our mounting problem on plastic waste and pollution.

Imposing excise tax on single-use plastics, while being a prohibitive policy, is not the solution. We need regulation that would phase out and ban single-use plastics, which harm the environment and wildlife, while also significantly contributing to global warming and climate change. The Extended Producers Responsibility Act, passed last year, only requires plastic producers to collect, recycle, and manage their waste better, but does not oblige them to reduce plastic.

The most powerful market shift needed for addressing plastic pollution is reducing waste at source, thus we urge the President to support a national legislation that will ban single-use plastics in the country.

We also call on the President to direct the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) to identify and include single-use plastics in the Non-Environmentally Acceptable Products (NEAP) list—and finally promulgate this list. This is one pathway to aspire for a circular and blue economy.

We believe that these actions are essential to the Philippines’ transition to a low-carbon economy. More than the pronouncements, the true test of leadership for his administration is the full implementation of these actions.