Committed Mayors at the Compact of Mayors National Launch in the Philippines. (From L-R) Mr. Victorino Aquitania, ICLEI SEAS Regional Director; Mayor Romulo Peña, Jr., Makati City; Mayor Maribel Eusebio, Pasig City; Mayor Ferdinand Tubban, Tabuk City; Mayor Eric Saratan, Talisay City (Negros Occidental); Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan, Catbalogan City; Mayor Reynaldo San Pedro, San Jose del Monte City; Commissioner Emmanuel De Guzman, Climate Change Commission; Mayor Arlene Arcillas, Santa Rosa City; Mayor Michael Rama, Cebu City; Mayor Nestor Alvarez, Science City of Muñoz; Mayor Gerardo Valmayor, Jr., San Carlos City; Mayor Herbert Bautista, Quezon City; and Assistant Secretary Josefina Castilla-Go of the Department of the Interior and Local Government. (Photo courtesy of the Quezon City Government)
Philippine Mayors join global Compact of Mayors at National Launch
Pledge to take action in advance of Paris COP21

QUEZON CITY – A group of city mayors in the Philippines announced their commitment to the Compact of Mayors, a global coalition of city leaders addressing climate change, at the National Launch of the Compact of Mayors in the Philippines on November 12 held by ICLEI Southeast Asia Secretariat (ICLEI SEAS) in coordination with the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) and the Quezon City Government.

The move comes just ahead of the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, where local actions are sought to be recognized and help shape the new climate agreement to be negotiated among nations.

Fifteen new commitments were announced at the Launch, of which seven were from Mayors who personally attended to sign their Letters of Intent. These were Mayors Michael Rama (Cebu City), Nestor Alvarez (Science City of Muñoz), Maribel Eusebio (Pasig City), Gerardo Valmayor, Jr. (San Carlos City), Reynaldo San Pedro (San Jose del Monte City), Ferdinand Tubban (Tabuk City), and Eric Saratan (Talisay City, Negros Occidental). They were joined at the Launch by the four Mayors who have earlier committed to the Compact – Mayors Herbert Bautista (Quezon City), Arlene Arcillas (Santa Rosa), Stephany Uy-Tan (Catbalogan City), and Romulo Peña, Jr. (Makati City).

Eight other Mayors sent their signed Letters of Intent through representatives: Mayors Mauricio Domogan (Baguio City), Eduardo Dimacuha (Batangas City), Oscar Moreno (Cagayan de Oro City), Jaime Fresnedi (Muntinlupa City), John Bongat (Naga City), Edwin Olivarez (Parañaque City), Lucilo Bayron (Puerto Princesa City), and Jefferson Soriano (Tuguegarao City).

In a message addressed to the National Launch, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III wrote: "The Philippines must remain at the forefront of the sustainability agenda, and your coalition can boost our undertakings to secure the safety of our countrymen. May your solidarity and cooperation yield effective results and spur our communities to greater action in the bid to maintain a balanced ecology."

In his welcome address, Mayor Bautista – concurrently the LCP National President – said of commitment to the Compact: “We would wage a long and drawn-out transformation of our society in every manner possible to adapt to and fight climate change… [it is] our testament – as City Mayors and as true Climate Leaders – to lead and promise our constituents that we will never falter.”

Assistant Secretary Josefina Castilla-Go of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Commissioner Emmanuel De Guzman of the Climate Change Commission likewise addressed the assembly. The Launch was followed by an orientation on Compact compliance for technical staff from the committed cities.

The Compact of Mayors commits cities to reduce local greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, enhance resilience to climate change, and track their progress publicly. It was launched in 2014 by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, Michael R. Bloomberg, under the leadership of ICLEI, C40, and the United Cities and Local Governments, with support from UN HABITAT.

The Letters of Intent, addressed to the Compact of Mayors Secretariat (through ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin), outline the Mayors’ mitigation and adaptation commitments within the next three years. These include: public reporting of the GHG emissions inventory and the climate hazards faced by the city, within one year or less; GHG emissions reduction target and the climate vulnerabilities faced by the city, within two years or less; and its climate change mitigation and adaptation plan, within three years or less.

These actions shall then be recognized through the global reporting platform, carbonn Climate Registry, leading to increased investor confidence and capital flows for climate action in cities.

ICLEI SEAS Regional Director Victorino Aquitania conveyed appreciation for the Mayors’ commitment and urged other local governments in the Philippines and Southeast Asia to follow their lead.

“Cities and towns are climate leaders; they are in the best position to effect real change,” he said. “With our region as one of the most vulnerable in the world to climate change impacts, it is incumbent upon Mayors – who are directly responsible for the well-being of their constituents – to take action.”

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Mayors of other cities sent their signed Letters of Intent through representatives (from L-R): Muntinlupa City; Tuguegarao City; Parañaque City, represented by City Councilor Florencia Amurao; Puerto Princesa City; Naga City (not pictured) and Baguio City (not pictured). The cities of Malolos and Manila, the nation's capital and represented by City Councilor Numero Lim, meanwhile, plan to send their Letters of Intent soon. (Click photo for larger view)
Commitment is the first step towards full compliance with the Compact of Mayors.