No presidential bet has green agenda, says priest
BOLINAO, Pangasinan—Not one of the presidential candidates has presented any program on what they intend to do about the environment, according to running priest Fr. Robert Reyes, noting that he hasn’t seen any of the aspirants putting forward a green agenda.
“Nobody’s talking about the environment as a banner platform,” said Reyes, who has been campaigning against government projects that adversely affect the environment.
Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas champions “yellow politics,” which Reyes said was “the contradiction of green.”
Reyes blamed Aquino administration officials like Environment Secretary Ramon Paje Jr. and Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson for the cutting down 1,800 trees last year to give way to a road widening project in eastern Pangasinan.
“I don’t know whether or not Mar will uphold green politics. If that’s the straight path (tuwid na daan), I don’t see it to be pro-environment,” he said.
Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance, prefers buildings more than trees, the priest said. This is has been demonstrated by Binay’s big campaign donations from developers, he said.
“I don’t know about [Davao City Mayor Rodrigo] Duterte and [Sen.] Grace Poe. But beside Poe is [Sen.] Chiz Escudero and behind Chiz is Danding Cojuangco,” and neither Escudero nor Cojuangco has acted publicly for environmental causes,” he said.
No to black politics
Reyes said that instead of being protected, the environment has become “a resource for profit-making, not for the preservation of people’s lives. It has become a resource for the preservation of political interests. That is black politics. What we need is green politics.”
“We need to push the green agenda with our politicians. I did not see it in the presidential debates. I hope to see it among the vice presidential candidates,” he said.
In Bulacan province, an environmental group is supporting the presidential bid of Duterte, calling the Davao City mayor the “action man” who could help save the environment.
Martin Francisco, the chair and president of the Save Sierra Madre Environmental Society Inc. (SSMESI), said Duterte’s brand of leadership would be the key to stopping the environmental degradation in the country.
“We need a leader like Duterte who is results-driven and has political will,” Francisco said.
Francisco said the Aquino administration has failed to enforce environment laws and policies, particularly in the protection of the Ipo watershed in Norzagaray town which was struck by a series of forest fires in 2014.
“The destruction in the Ipo watershed continues until today. The illegal loggers there are fearless,” he said.
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