Every year, the Philippines commemorates National Child Health Day on November 19. This day serves as a reminder that every child’s health and well-being is a community responsibility that must be fulfilled through collective efforts led by the state as primary duty bearer. Fulfilling this responsibility includes acknowledging that health is not merely defined by a child’s physical condition, but also involves their mental, social, and emotional condition.

Incidentally, this day also marks the beginning of the Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week. This annual observance aims to “advance the general health and welfare” of every Filipino and address the immediate threats posed by extreme conditions due to climate change. Our environment affects our health, and the effects of climate change have taken a heavy toll on every Filipino. The burden of climate change especially falls heavy on the shoulders of those who have the least – many of whom are farmers and fisherfolk who make it possible for us to bring food to our tables.

Climate change puts children at risk, with our future hanging in the balance. It heightens social inequalities by contributing to political and environmental instability, and compromises public health by causing the continuous decline of food and water security. We cannot fulfill our responsibility in securing children’s health and welfare without fulfilling our responsibility in addressing climate change and mitigating its effects.

The Office of Deputy Speaker MP Laisa Masuhud Alamia has taken steps to address these issues through bills that acknowledge the direct links between climate change and food security in the region, while also strengthening the agricultural sector. MP Alamia has also filed bills that specifically targets the health needs of children while also pushing for the establishment of facilities such as the Bahay Pag-Asa that can support the needs of vulnerable chidlren all over the region.

We can only ensure the future of every child through a conscious and collective effort that takes the interconnectedness of our health and environment into consideration. Along with the pursuit of just and lasting peace, we must continue working together in pursuing a healthier environment and a better future for all.