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MANILA, Philippines – In the last months of 2023, the United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP28 in Dubai finalized an agreement calling for a “transition away” from fossil fuels, but Filipino civil society groups were left shortchanged as they were looking forward to a language on complete phaseout.
As the climate talks concluded, the Philippines secured a seat on the Board of the Loss and Damage Fund in 2024 while seeking to host the fund. But back home, groups question the government’s capacity to take on the responsibility.
In 2023, the country faced several environmental issues, such as mining and reclamation projects, dangers to environmental defenders, and threats to protected areas, including the monthslong oil spill that hit Oriental Mindoro in February.
As it is, Filipinos are still in the process of recovering from past disasters. In Tacloban, Leyte, 15% of the housing sites for the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) are still unfinished, with thousands of units unoccupied 10 years after the disaster. Housing units for landslide victims of Severe Tropical Storm Paeng also remain unoccupied in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte, because they are small and without water and electricity.
Though hounded by disaster and environmental issues, a glimmer of hope remains in the Philippines as nature conservation efforts still exist and thrive, such as the mangrove forest conservation efforts by a small community in San Enrique, Negros Occidental.
Here are some of the biggest environment stories in the Philippines in 2023.
- Sibuyan Island residents form human barricade to stop mining trucks
- TIMELINE: Sibuyan Island’s decades of opposition to mining
- Suspension of Altai mining ops in Sibuyan welcomed, but ‘fight far from over’
- Altai maintains legality of ore mining operations in Sibuyan
- ‘We want her audience’: DENR chief urged to cancel Altai’s mining permit in Sibuyan
- How environmentalists are defending Palawan’s and Romblon’s ecosystems
- 4 mining firms in Homonhon owe Eastern Samar over P133M in taxes
- Palawan indigenous peoples allege DENR official favored mining firm
- Is the mining fiscal regime bill good for the economy and climate agenda?
- Mindanao bishops urge Marcos to cancel PH’s biggest mining project
- Martin Romualdez and his mining interests
- Indigenous women protect migratory marine species in Calamianes Islands
- How marine ecosystems have been kept intact in the high seas
- The Green Report: San Enrique, ang komunidad na nangangalaga sa bakawan
- The mangroves are safe in this small town in Negros Occidental
- In a Northern Samar town, sardines are aplenty, but their fishers aren’t
- Life after catch: Sardines business holds promise for N. Samar small fishers
Oriental Mindoro oil spill
- WATCH: What cleanup looks like in the area hardest hit by the oil spill in Oriental Mindoro
- FAST FACTS: Verde Island Passage, the ‘Amazon of the oceans’
- Marine life has ways to weather an oil spill. Can we keep up?
- Marcos’ first environmental crisis leaves fisherfolk behind
- Crisis forgotten? No mention of oil spill in Marcos’ SONA
- WATCH: Is nuclear energy the way to go for the Philippines?
- Nuclear is clean. But can the Philippines handle its risks?
- Gov’t eyes fuel cells as greener energy alternative to fossil fuels
- Rappler Talk: ACEN CEO Eric Francia on making headway toward a clean energy future
- Philippine fishermen balk at land reclamation projects
- Flounders surface due to dredging in Manila Bay
- Marcos suspends all Manila Bay reclamation projects except one
- PRA admits many ‘illegal, unauthorized’ reclamation projects nationwide
- Exempted from suspension, Pasay reclamation projects get green light from PRA
- Think before you flick: That cigarette butt harms the Earth too
- The Green Report: How to start a zero-waste lifestyle
- How 2 communities, separated by an ocean, are working together to manage trash better
- The PH is finally going after plastic producers, but some companies are not cooperating
- PH towns, cities are paying high cost of waste management. Plastic producers should help.
- Disaster in Kusiong landslides: How politics killed non-Moro IPs
- When fighting for ancestral lands hits a dead end
- No Senate hearing on Kusiong landslide since Tedurays wouldn’t appear – Padilla
- Gov’t should use scientific data in hazard maps – Lagmay
- Newsbreak Chats: Revisiting the Teduray tragedy in Kusiong
- Ma’am Jo’s killing was a nightmare. Her dreams for the Teduray tribe are alive.
- Displacement of Tedurays shows deeply-rooted issue of political dynasties, says journalist
- The Green Report: The art of Rappler’s stories on the Teduray tragedy
- After Yolanda: A causeway threatens efforts by locals to restore a mangrove forest
- PANOORIN: Mga Kuwentong Yolanda
- WATCH: Call her Landa
- After Yolanda: A teacher’s dream for the children of Guiuan
- A decade later: 15% of Yolanda houses unfinished, thousands unoccupied
- Part 2: Water, electricity issues bog Yolanda relocation plans
- Can the Philippines be a strong voice again at UN climate talks?
- Civil society groups sidelined at first-ever Philippine pavilion at COP28
- ‘Unprecedented’ number of fossil fuel lobbyists granted access to COP28 – analysis
- Historic? PH civil society at COP28 says climate deal ‘falls short’
- Philippines gets a seat in inaugural board of loss and damage fund
- The Green Report: Is COP28 really the ‘beginning of end’ for fossil fuels?
Climate change and solutions
- The Green Report: Bike commuting 101 with Geri Amarnani of Pinay Bike Commuter Community
- In troubled waters: Rising sea levels threaten sinking town’s survival
- [DOKUMENTARYO]: Ang nalulunod na Isla ng Pamarawan
- Fighting climate anxiety on the frontlines
- Electric public transport can make cities livable, humane
- ‘I didn’t want to give up my culture’: Vegan chefs reimagine Filipino dishes
- A new generation of young adults is cycling toward greener cities
- The Green Report: In fight against climate change, what can cities do?
- Indigenous women and their stories: The Cariño family
- Deadliest regions in the Philippines for environmental defenders
- A decade later, Philippines still most dangerous country in Asia for envi defenders
- ‘Abducted’ environmental activists now reunited with family, friends
- UPLB researchers discover new, ‘critically endangered’ tree species in Palawan
- The Green Report: Hiking the newly rehabilitated Pico de Loro
- Filipino, British researchers save critically endangered ‘Queen of Flowers’ in the Philippines
- Birds need your help. You can watch them.
- The Green Report: Finding love in the great outdoors
- [FIRST PERSON] Are dirt bikes ruining mountain trails?
- Sick of crowded Baguio? Try forest bathing in Camp John Hay