Environmental groups present greenest national bets
Various green groups’ evaluation presented ‘greenest’ national candidates on Wednesday at Miriam College in Quezon City.
The initiative “Luntiang Bayan: Boto para sa Tao, Hayop at Kalikasan” assessed the national candidates through the following 7-point agenda: animal welfare and wildlife protection, biodiversity and ecosystems protection, adaptation to climate change/disaster preparedness and mitigation, food security, sustainable development, solid waste management and environmental justice.
These green groups comprise Earth Island Institute Philippines, Nilad, Miriam College Environmental Studies Institute, Philippine Animal Welfare Society, Save Philippine Seas, Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, Ecowaste Coalition, Save Freedom Island Movement, Pull OutCOALition, Save Laguna Lake Movement, Piglas, UP Green League, Miriam Environmental Planning Organization and UP Minggan (Diliman and Manila).
Said groups ran through congress and senatorial archives and also online sources to rate the candidates.
‘Greenest’ among bets
Senator Santiago emerged as the most consistent candidate topping all of the 7-point agenda because of her pro-environment legislative outputs and public statements.
“We were surprised on [Senator] Miriam, because she does not see herself as an environmental leader. However, [based] on our research, she came out consistent,” said Mong Palatino of Nilad.
Mayor Duterte came in second because Davao City passed several ordinances in banning extensive mining and aerial spraying plantations. However, he got negative points because, based on his track record, he declared in 1988 he will continue to eat dog meat although the Animal Welfare has been passed already.
“The way Mayor Duterte eliminates dog bites through shooting and poisoning affected his rating,” said Anna Cabrera, Executive Director of Philippine Animal Welfare Society (Paws).
Senator Grace Poe came in third place; DILG Secretary Mar Roxas in fourth place; Vice President Jejomar Binay in fifth place.
Among the candidates for vice president, Escudero scored the highest because of his attention on Canadian trash dumping issue, the rehabilitation efforts in Yolanda-affected areas and support for farmers who suffer from El Niño effects.
Senator Gringo Honasan landed in second place; Senator Bongbong Marcos on third; Senator Allan Cayetano on fourth; Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV came in fifth; and Representative Leni Robredo landed sixth.
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri topped the senatoriables because he sees himself as a candidate for the environment which reflected on the evaluation.
Bayan Muna party-list Representative Neri Colmenares came in second; Senator Kiko Pangilinan on third; Senator Ralph Recto on fourth; and landed fifth is Saranggani Representative Manny Pacquiao. The thirty candidates for senator were based on the February 2016 Pulse Asia Survey.
For the party list, Bayan Muna led the race with consistent pro-environment record, followed by Anakpawis, Gabriela, Butil and ACT Teachers. Top 30 party-lists were determined through the 2013 elections’ result.
The evaluation ran from February to second week of April.
Years in service, a factor – green group leader
“Her [Miriam] years in the legislative are also a factor in the evaluation,” said Palatino. “It’s like, there are silent workers in the senate who are pro-environment,” he added.
Senator Grace Poe got “good enough” score since she only became a senator three years ago.
DILG Secretary Mar Roxas has been in the senate since 2004, however he got negative ratings due to his support in building coal plants and mining operations expansion.
Even though Vice President Binay has been in the legislative for a long time, the “urbanity of Makati City” affected his score, rating him with negative points.
In the race for vice president, Palatino shared that even though Senator Gringo Honasan has longer years in service, Escudero’s record has shown more pro-environment outputs topping four of the categories.
Honasan was rated highest in solid waste management and disaster preparedness categories. Tied with Marcos, they led the sustainable development category.
Similar to Poe, Robredo is serving her first term in Congress with fewer legislative proposals compared to other vice presidential candidates, however, she was rated the highest on food security category, reflecting her advocacy in the agricultural sector.
Addressing envi issues, voters who to vote
As part of the Earth day celebration on Friday, green groups are urging the future government to address environmental issues in the country.
“Environmental issues are national issues,” Trixie Concepcion of Earth Island Institute said earlier on Thursday.
Concepcion also deemed necessary to pass the Marine Area Protection Act in Congress because many of the folks’ job rely on marine life.
Cabrera of Paws shared that ‘how poverty is connected to environmental issues’ is not being addressed by the government.
“Whoever cares for our environment, eyes complete and sustainable future. Because this sustainability is a big and significant part of our future and this may affect the economic growth of the Philippines,” she added.
Samantha Cinco, Miriam College Environmental Society president, said that this evaluation would help the voters, most especially the youth. “Through this, we will also know which candidate has plans for conserving of the environment,” she added.
“We should not be passive, we should be active in conserving and protecting the environment,” said Pau Sagalocos, UP Minggan – Manila. “This is a challenge not only to the candidates but also to the youth. They should remember who to vote who has environmental concerns,” she added. TVJ
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