MORE than 30 youth organizations across the country have challenged the candidates for the upcoming 2022 national elections to put the issue of climate change as a priority in their platforms.

“The next leaders of the country need to recognize the urgency of the climate crisis for our country,” said Jon Bonifacio, national coordinator of Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (Yacap).

Yacap is the nationwide alliance behind the initiative.

“Especially after the devastation from Typhoon Odette, we need to start talking about how we can adapt to climate change,” he said.

The proposed climate agenda is a list of different policy suggestions that were drafted after consultation with various youth organizations and young individuals, including some directly impacted by Typhoon Odette last December, according to the group.

The document highlights different climate and environment issues, ranging from adaptation to typhoons to climate education, they said.

Yacap said the Philippines is one of the worst impacted countries when it comes to climate change, ranking fourth globally in terms of long-term climate risk according to the Global Climate Risk Index 2021.

Last December 2021, Typhoon Odette (international name Rai) affected eight million people in the country, with 1.4 million houses destroyed or otherwise damaged, the youth organization said.

“The youth are coming together to call for a green and just leadership in the face of the ongoing climate and environment crisis,” said Bea Panlaqui, chairperson of Saribuhay, one of the youth organizations that joined Yacap in the campaign.

“Our present and future are at stake, and we have no time to lose,” she added.