As nations grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, countries must also be wary of the rising geopolitical tensions across the globe, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said on Tuesday.
“Escalating tensions benefit no one. New flashpoints heighten fears and tend to tear peoples apart,” President Duterte said in his address during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. “When elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled flat.”
Given the size and military might of the contenders, there will be terrible toll on human life and property if real conflict occurs, he said.
“I therefore call on the stakeholders in the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula, the Middle East and Africa: if we cannot be friends as yet, then in God’s name, let us not hate each other too much. I heard it once said, and I say it to myself in complete agreement,” he told the UN.
As countries fight COVID-19, they should also show the same urgency to address the climate crisis that is already taking its toll across the world.
According to the President, climate change is a global challenge that has worsened existing inequalities and vulnerabilities from within and between nations.
“Climate change has worsened the ravages of the pandemic,” President Duterte said. “Peoples in developing countries like the Philippines suffer the most. We cannot afford to suffer more.”
The Philippines joined the Paris Agreement to fight climate change, and the President said he expects all parties to honor their commitments to fight the global scourge.
He called on all parties to strengthen communities and peoples for preparedness and resilience, stressing mankind and Mother Earth are at stake. PND