Aumentado Lone PH Governor at COP 28 in Dubai Amid Criticisms

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Bohol Governor Aris Aumentado is the only Philippine governor who attended the Conference of Parties (COP) 28, the annual global climate conference hosted by the United Nations in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from December 1 to 2, 2023.

Aumentado left Bohol for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on November 30, 2023, together with some undisclosed names of the members of his entourage.

Aumentado, who leads the Bohol delegation, said he joined the summit to showcase Bohol’s best practices and initiatives on climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as to learn from the experiences and innovations of other countries and stakeholders.

Bohol is one of the pilot provinces of the Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP) program, which helps local governments integrate climate change concerns into their development plans and budgets.

Bohol is also pursuing renewable energy projects, such as solar, wind, and biomass, to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and to lower its greenhouse gas emissions.

Aumentado said that Bohol is committed to contribute to the global efforts to address the climate crisis, which poses serious threats to the island’s biodiversity, tourism, agriculture, and coastal communities.

“We are here to share our stories and to learn from others. We are here to join the world in finding solutions and taking actions for a more sustainable and resilient future,” Aumentado was quoted as saying before his yet another foreign trip.

Aumentado’s participation in COP28 comes amid criticism from some sectors over his frequent foreign travels, which they claim are unnecessary and wasteful.

According to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Aumentado has made at least 10 foreign trips since he assumed office in 2022, including visits to China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Israel, Japan, Turkey, Vietnam, South Korea, United States of America, among others.

Some of his critics have questioned the relevance and impact of his trips to the development of Bohol, and have urged him to focus more on addressing the local issues and problems, especially amid crimes and rising prices of basic commodities.

Aumentado, however, defended his travels, saying that they are part of his official duties and responsibilities as the governor of Bohol, and that they have brought benefits and opportunities to the province.

He said that his trips are authorized by the DILG and are in compliance with the existing laws and regulations.

He also said that he always submits reports and updates to the provincial board and the public on the outcomes and agreements of his trips.

Aumentado is the only Philippine governor who attended COP28, as President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. called off his trip to Dubai due to the hostage situation involving 17 Filipino seafarers in the Red Sea.

Pope Francis, who was also scheduled to attend COP28 and deliver a speech, cancelled his visit as well due to health reasons.

COP28 is the 28th edition of the UN climate summit, where governments will discuss how to limit and prepare for future climate change. 

The summit is expected to finalize the rules and mechanisms for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to keep the global temperature rise well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

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