ABOUT 500 cyclists joined the "9th Yolanda Commemorative Bicycling Advocacy Ride, Cycling for Climate Justice" in Tacloban City and in Leyte towns on Sunday, November 6, 2022.

The event was also part of the "4th Pedal for People and Planet," which was led by the Asian Peoples' Movement in Debt and Development (APMDD) and other climate advocacy groups in over 40 cities and towns in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal, as the Climate Change Conference 2022- Conference of Parties (COP27) has opened in Egypt.

The participants called on governments of rich, industrialized countries "to deliver immediate climate reparations for developing countries that are bearing the brunt of environmental destruction due to climate change."

Super Typhoon Yolanda, which devastated the central Philippines, particularly Tacloban City, and killed over 6,000 people on November 8, 2013, was attributed to climate change, according to environmental groups.

"In Eastern Visayas, as in the rest of the Philippines, decision makers and duty bearers continue to act and pretend as if the suffering of the people of Samar, Leyte, and Biliran because of this climate crisis is part of a new normal," said Judah Aliposa, private sector representative on Disaster Resilience under the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Eastern Visayas.

Aliposa said that voluntary action of local communities, such as the bicycling community, should be part of "building real, on-the-ground disaster and climate-proofed resilience."

"Napamatud-an na han mga panhitabó han Super Typhoon Yolanda ngan han mga naglabay nga mga kalamidad sugad han Odette, Agaton ngan Paeng nga importante an mga aksyon han mga lokal nga komunidad upod na an mga nakabisikleta didá han dagmit nga pagbaton ha mga kalamidad," Aliposa said in vernacular.

He also noted the alleged failure to consider the role of bicycle emergency responders and voluntary rescue groups and communities in overall strategies during disasters.

"Even worse, our local, provincial, regional and national development plans continue to be private car-centric and ever-increasingly continue to be fossil fuel-dependent. They glaringly neglect and fail to actively involve local communities and civil society organizations in satisfying the needs of our walking, bicycling, and commuting public," Aliposa told Sunstar Philippines.

In Manila, and elsewhere in the country, some 3,000 bikers also called on governments of rich, industrialized countries "to immediately deliver climate reparations for developing countries that are bearing the brunt of climate change."

“This year, millions of people all over the world have suffered the grave impacts of climate change. Homes have been damaged, jobs and livelihoods disrupted or lost altogether, vast areas of crops destroyed, people have been dislocated. Too many died. We call on the governments of rich, industrialized countries, their elites and giant corporations who bear the greatest responsibility for the climate crisis: pay your climate debt owed to people and communities who contributed the least, if at all, to the problem, but bear its biggest impacts," said Lidy Nacpil, APMDD coordinator.

Nacpil said the "fulfillment of climate finance obligations is part of reparations."

In 2009, developed countries reportedly pledged to jointly mobilize $100 billion annually in climate finance by 2020 to fund climate action in developing countries.

“This 100 billion climate finance goal is miniscule considering that the estimated climate finance needed between now and 2030 is at least $11 trillion. But rich countries are not even fulfilling their promise of this ridiculously low amount. They are spending several times more on subsidies for fossil fuels,” said Nacpil in a separate statement.

Lawyer Aaron Pedrosa, speaking for the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), maintained the "usual inaction, deception and tactics done by governments of the Global North to avoid their climate finance obligations are serious travesties of justice and outright violations of human rights at this time of intensifying climate impacts."

“The lack of progress in climate pledges has put us on the pathway to climate catastrophe. We have very little time left to address climate change and save humanity and the planet,” added Pedrosa.

Meanwhile, Nacpil stressed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a legally binding agreement that is the basis of the climate summit that is about to start in Egypt, "specifies that developed country governments must provide climate finance to developing countries in recognition that developed countries have contributed the most to the problem of climate change."

"This climate finance is to be used for adaptation, building resilience, and GHG reduction measures in developing countries, which includes the transition to renewable energy away from fossil fuels. It is not aid or assistance but part of reparations for the harm caused," said Nacpil. (SunStar Philippines)