Philippines | HCWH-Asia Launches #ChooseHealthyEnergy Campaign with Health Leaders and Advocates

Pasig City, Philippines – As tribute to the 17th Anniversary of the Clean Air Act on June 23, health and energy justice group Health Care Without Harm launched their #ChooseHealthyEnergy campaign –  an effort that calls on the government and the health sector to speed up the transition towards healthy, renewable energy.


The campaign is supported by a number of notable personalities who will serve as ambassadors for the cause, such as Sen. Risa Hontiveros, an advocate for women’s rights and the environment; Former Secretary of the Department of Health and Department of Social Welfare and Development Dr. Esperanza Cabral; “running priest” Fr. Robert Reyes who is a staunch and long-time advocate for the environment; 2013 Health Media Awardee doctor and columnist Dr. Stef dela Cruz; Certified Doula Irina Otmakhova; Top Filipino Radio host Renzmark Jairus “Papa Dudut” Ricafrente; and health and wellness advocates and bloggers Toni Nicolas, Denise Sarmiento and Maria Fatima Villena.

“We need to remember that anniversary of the Clean Air Act or not, today is as good a day as any for the health sector and everybody else to come out and add their voice to the growing demand for the country to fast-track our transition to renewable energy and away from polluting energy sources such as coal,” pointed out Paeng Lopez, Health Care Without Harm’s Campaigner for the Healthy Energy Initiative.

HCWH_luisLiwanag-331In support, Senator Risa Hontiveros added that, “The Senate’s concurrence to the Paris climate deal is one piece of the puzzle in securing a healthy and safe future. Beyond the concurrence, we need the government’s political will and action towards renewable and clean energy. The future will thank us for the commitments we set in motion today.”

And things are truly in motion. On the side of Department of Health, plans have been drawn to ensure that future projects that are critical to the environment and health undergo strict and rigorous assessments.  “As a matter of fact, one of the major facets of the Philippine Health Agenda Framework for 2016 – 2022 highlights the important role of government agencies such as DOH, DENR and DSWD to execute a health impact assessment for all large-scale, high-risk developments such as mining firms and power plants,” former DOH and DSWD Secretary Dr. Esperanza Cabral stated.

This is a welcome development especially in the context of climate change and how it affects people’s health.

For her part as a health professional, Dr. Stef dela Cruz pointed out that, “If Mother Earth dies, we all die. This makes Her a priority patient for health professionals like me. This is why I push for renewable energy – it’s a health issue of utmost importance.”

To this, Paeng Lopez added that, “Health facilities like the Calamba Doctors Hospital using 60% of renewable energy for their operations and Philippine Heart Center transitioning partially to renewables is the kind of leadership by example that other health institutions and even our own government can use as an inspiration for a steady transition towards renewables. The time to invest in healthy energy, the kind that does not make our environment and our people sick, is here – it is now.


Aside from health professionals, the religious sector is also taking active part in supporting the campaign.  Fr. Robert Reyes, an environmental advocate and #ChooseHealthyEnergy Ambassador points out that, “Laudato Si, an enlightening encyclical written by Pope Francis reminds us that if we do not take swift and global action on climate change and environmental degradation today, then we are in for an unprecedented destruction of life-supporting ecosystems which necessarily has perilous effects on our well-beings.”

All things considered, health and energy justice movements together with Health Care Without Harm call on the firm leadership of the Duterte government and the health community to make a definitive stand against coal and other dirty sources of energy, such as calling for the moratorium on new coal and usher the growth of renewables to power our path to national development.

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