Climate Change Commission grilled again in Senate about ‘frequent trips’
MANILA, Philippines — For two years now, the issue of its supposed penchant for travels hounded the Climate Change Commission (CCC) on Monday.
This time, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III asked about the CCC’s participation in the Conference of Parties (COP27) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Egypt late last year.
“Just to destroy this bias against the commission, there have been talks since last year that you’ve always been traveling,” Pimentel said in Fillipino when the Senate tackled in the plenary the proposed P147 million budget of the CCC for 2024.
He proceeded to ask if there was truth to the allegation that the Philippines had 89 delegates to the COP27.
Responding for the CCC, sponsor of the agency’s budget, Sen. Imee Marcos clarified that only 12 of the 89 delegates were from the commission.
“They were combined from different agencies. But there are really a lot of them,” Marcos said, speaking partly in Filipino.
Pimentel next asked if indeed the delegates from CCC extended their stay in Egypt for another week.
Marcos surmised the COP27 was a “contentious meeting” so negotiations had extended beyond the convention period.
But when Pimentel asked if she was happy with the explanation of the commission, Marcos said: “ I still think — you and I being of Ilocano origin — they are spending too much on travel.”
Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva joined the discussion, saying: “It is not acceptable also from the people of Bulacan.”
Later on, upon Pimentel’s query, Marcos pointed out that only P4.999 million — or just under P5 million of the P147 million budget proposal of the CCC — was set aside for its local and foreign trips.
The same issue on their foreign trips was raised against the commission when it defended on the Senate floor its budget for 2023.