Pia Cayetano wants PET bottles, sachets banned in Senate
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Pia Cayetano has called for a ban on the use of PET bottles and sachets in the Senate to save the environment.
During Wednesday’s plenary session, Cayetano encouraged her colleagues to adopt a sustainable lifestyle by taking small steps.
Cayetano is the chair of the Senate committee on sustainable development goals, innovation, and futures Thinking.
“It [sustainability] starts with day-to-day habits, day-to-day changes which may seem small at first but collectively and over time, they result in big changes,” she said during her privilege speech.
Giving personalized tumblers to her colleagues, Cayetano appealed: “So, Mr. [Senate] President, if I may end with my call to action. Let’s ban the use of PET bottles in the Senate. But, well, encourage and request everyone to bring their own jug because if they plan to drink and be hydrated while they are here, then they can do that.”
“Ban the use of sachets. Medyo maayos naman magpasweldo ang Senate, hindi ho ba (The Senate gives decent income, right)?” she added.
According to her, single-use plastics proliferated, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, due to medical wastes, among others.
Cayetano likewise urged her co-senators to go paperless by reading their documents using their gadgets.
Make ‘a sustainable Senate’
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri expressed support for Cayetano’s proposal, saying: “You have our full support, if there is a hearing I would love to attend as well.”
Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, and Senators Sonny Angara, Cynthia Villar, Robin Padilla, Risa Hontiveros, and Alan Peter Cayetano likewise backed the sustainability measures.
In her manifestation, Legarda pointed out that food waste can be utilized as compost which could be used for planting.
“I would help in making the Senate, our second home, a sustainable Senate. It would be so embarrassing that we deliver grand speeches and we do not implement these [practices] in our own homes and our own offices,” she said.
Angara, meanwhile, requested that he no longer be given printed copies of documents.
“I was so inspired by the speech of Senator Pia that I want to follow her lead and I want to ask the President to ask the Secretariat that I no longer wish to have printed material on my table,” he said.
On the other hand, Villar noted that she donated a Rotary Composting Facility situated inside the Senate compound.
“It processes the food waste and garden waste of the Senate. In turn, the organic fertilizer produced [is] being given to the plantitos and plantitas (plant enthusiasts) among the Senate employees,” she said.
For his part, Padilla raised concern about marine pollution, sharing his experience during his visit to the West Philippine Sea.
“‘Yun po ay nakalulungkot sapagkat napakalawak na po nito, napakalayo na po nito at makikita mo sa kalagitnaan ng karagatan ay napakaraming basura. Isa na roon ang plastic,” he recalled, adding that it has an impact on public health.
(What’s saddening is the sea is far and wide but you can see trash in the middle of the sea. Unfortunately, one of them is plastic.)
Hontiveros likewise agreed to stop the use of plastics in the upper chamber and practice waste segregation.
“I join the Senate President Pro Tempore in supporting the gentlewoman from Taguig and Pateros’ proposal that we forgo the use of the small plastic bottles for water,” the opposition lawmaker said.
In a message, Cayetano’s brother, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, expressed support for her sister’s call. Cayetano is in isolation after testing positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the coronavirus disease or COVID-19.
“Mr. President, I just want to put on record that Senator Alan from Pateros-Taguig in the Philippines messaged me that he is one with us in sustainability,” she said.
Twenty-two senators attended Wednesday’s session. All were physically present while Alan Peter Cayetano participated online.
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