Candidates in May polls urged to go ‘green’By Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines – Environmentalist groups rallied on Tuesday before the Commission on Election (Comelec) in Manila calling on candidates to be green-minded.
Activists from Greenpeace, EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) dressed as popular green-colored superheroes marched to the Comelec head office to promote their 2013 Green Electoral Initiative (GEI).
The “GEI aims to ensure that the right of Filipinos to a ‘balanced and healthful ecology’ is upheld and safeguarded,” the groups said in a joint statement.
Francis Dela Cruz, Greenpeace Southeast Asia spokesman, said that “The country’s leaders should be green superheroes–not jokers or, worse, environmental villains.”
“Protecting the environment should be a key national policy and a priority election concern both for the candidates as well as the voting public. Environmental protection directly translates to economic benefits for the nation as a whole, for communities and for each individual Filipino,” Dela Cruz said.
As part of the GEI, the groups will conduct a survey on several key environmental issues such as budget allocation for the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, the enactment of a national plastic bag ban, passage of a law to promote energy efficiency, and a law that would eliminate toxic substances in consumer products, among others.
They then intend to invite candidates to participate in a public forum to discuss the issues.
“The candidates may have green pick-up lines which are effective in capturing the attention of the Filipino public,” Edwin Alejo, National Coordinator for EcoWaste Coalition, said.
“But they should go beyond mere rhetoric and pursue legislation that would ensure protection of the environment,” he said.
He further said that the groups were committed “to watch over these candidates relentlessly during the campaign period and to continue our vigilance until after they are elected.”