Filipino activists raise concerns on climate change at NAFCON

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Oct. 8, 2014

LONG BEACH, Calif. – As the Philippines enters another typhoon season, the issue of climate change and it’s impact on people’s lives have become a hot topic for visiting health workers from the Philippines, saying natural disasters have a lasting devastating effect on people there.

“Malaki ang effect, impact of this destruction the create,” said Jocelyn Andamo from the Alliance of Health Workers, “Because many many Filipinos, especially the farmers and indigenous people, are displaced from their ancestral land, they lose their livelihood, they lose their homeland when the people are mining, they suffer in poverty.”

Community leaders Doctor Eleanor Jara and Jocelyn Andamo just came from New York where they joined protests during president Benigno Aquino’s recent appearance at the United Nations summit on climate change.

“First the deforestation of the forest,” said Dr. Eleanor Jara who heads the Council for Health and Development, “Because that is the cause of the floods and also landslide mudslide, and the people are so poor. So impoverished with the backward agricultural.”

Later this week, they will be meeting with Filipino-American activists from around the country for the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) general assembly in Long Beach, where they will give a report on how the government addresses issues like poverty, the environment, and the rehabilitation of typhoon stricken areas in the Philippines.

“With the National Alliance of Filipino Concerns, not only are we interested in connecting with the homeland and freedom of our people there, but also with the rights and welfare for Filipinos here in the United States,” explained NAFCON regional coordinator Alex Montances, “Against discrimination, comprehensive immigration reform. We’re trying to fight human trafficking especially labor trafficking. We’re also pushing for our new environmental justice campaign.”

One issue they say they will continue to tackle is temporary protected status (TPS), as Typhoon Yolanda-ravaged lands in the Philippines continue to rebuild.

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