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12 Dez 2017

Nicole-Anne C. Lagrimas, GMA Network

CHR sets 2019 target for results of landmark rights-based climate change probe

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The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is targeting to release during the first quarter of 2019 its resolution on a landmark national inquiry into the alleged contribution of private “carbon majors” to climate change and its supposedly rights-threatening impact to Filipinos. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, CHR Commissioner Roberto Cadiz, who chairs the inquiry, said the body should by that time be able to produce recommendations for local and international agencies out of the evidence to be presented by the petitioners and possibly by the respondents — of the 47 multinational corporations, only around 8 of which operate in the Philippines — in hearings in and outside of the country that are scheduled for 2018... The resolution will contain both Philippine-specific and general recommendations, as well as a “model law” to address climate change that can be suggested globally, said Cadiz, though he remarked that it was, at the moment, “hard to anticipate all the possible outputs” of the inquiry...

Site visitations and fact-finding missions will be held in Cagayan De Oro, Bukidnon, and Cagayan Valley, while investigations and community dialogues will be held in Albay, Quezon and Batangas. Hearings will be held in the Philippines and possibly in North America and Europe... [The] announcement came a day after a conference of the parties involved, which laid the groundwork for the expedition of the national inquiry, said to be the first to investigate climate change through a rights-based approach...

The commissioner said the inquiry aims to determine whether or not climate change impacts human rights, whether carbon majors are responsible for such, and if they do, “what can or should be done about it.”... [While the Commission]... cannot award damages in the event of an attribution of fault, the results of the inquiry “can be relied on as a foundation for filing cases for punitive damages later on,” [Cadiz] also said...Twelve of these companies have responded to the inquiry by submitting motions to dismiss or ad cautelam comments, allegedly claiming the CHR has no territorial jurisdiction over the case. But Cadiz said the inquiry would push through despite this, adding that the Commission was acting out of its “mandate” to hear a petition of alleged human rights violations.