We, Filipino scientists, technologists, and engineers under the March for Science Alliance, support the call to #BanTrump in his upcoming visit to the Philippines in November 12-14. Along with attending the ASEAN-US Summit and the East Asia Summit, he will also hold a bilateral meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, with whom he shares many parallels.
After less than a year in office, US President Donald Trump has already made a lasting impression on the global scientific community following his intensifying attacks on science. Among the moves in his crackdown versus scientific knowledge especially regarding climate change and its causes include ordering restrictions on access to scientific publications and slashing the budget of key science institutions such as the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Environmental Protection Agency, and others.
Worse still, he actively propagates knowledge that negate the scientific consensus on climate change and its contributors. In promoting the nonexistent “clean” coal, he is actively serving as a mouthpiece for the billion-dollar fossil fuel industry, one of the biggest contributors to climate change. In fact, he has appointed players in the fossil fuel industry to his cabinet, including Rex Tillerson, former CEO of ExxonMobil as Secretary of State, climate change skeptic Scott Pruit as Environmental Protection Agency chief, and fossil fuel advocate Rick Perry as Energy Secretary.
Trump’s energy policies are echoed in the Philippines by President Duterte, who has also advocated for the use of coal as a cheap but dirty source of energy. His Energy Secretary, Alfonso Cusi, is also an advocate of clean coal as evidenced by the 17 coal-fired power plants which opened in one-and-a-half years under Duterte’s administration. He has also consistently pushed for nuclear power specifically the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, a mothballed project of the Marcos regime questioned for its safety and functionality.
More than this similarity, the two strongmen share commonalities in their approach to militarism and war. US aggressively uses its technology such as the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (nicknamed the Mother of All Bombs) to fuel its wars in the Middle East. Despite shaking hands with Russia and China, two countries that threaten the US’ global influence the most, Duterte is still under his US counterpart. Amid increasing US militarism in the Asia-Pacific region, Duterte has allowed troops in the Marawi siege, and he kept the status quo on agreements such as the Visiting Forces Agreement and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.
We strongly oppose Trump administration’s intensifying fascism and militarism, and the blatant attacks on science through information lock down, the active campaign to deny climate change, and the outright support for big business interests, affecting the welfare of the people globally especially climate change vulnerable countries as the Philippines.
As we celebrate the World Science Day for Peace and Development on November 10, we will strengthen our guards against attacks on science that prevent its role as a catalyst for genuine development. We vow to speak out and defend science that serves the interests of the people.#
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