Green groups urge Duterte to act on ‘neglected’ environmental policies
Environmental groups marched to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to protest the administration’s “failure” to address the worsening environmental condition of the country.
Headed by the Green Thumb Coalition (GTC), the Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Center for Energy, Ecology and Development (CEED), Alternative Law Groups (ALG), Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), and other green organizations staged a rally at the DENR central office in Quezon City to urge action on neglected environmental policies from President Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippine Development Plan.
“Maraming pangakong napako. Noong tumatakbo pa lang si Presidente Duterte, siya ay may sinagutan at binigay na commitments tungkol sa environment…Anong nangyari? Anong ginawa?” Jaybee Garganera of ATM said.
The environmental groups slammed the administration for not implementing the environmental policies on mining regulation and ecological protection programs which were promised by President Duterte on his first state of the nation address.
“Isang taon na tinulugan ng administrasyong ito ‘yung pagpaplano na ‘yun, pero may kadahilanan at hindi natin sinisisi lamang si Presidente Digong, pero susi siya dito kasi siya ang presidente.”
“Sinabi niya, isa sa prayoridad niya ang climate change nung siya ay tumakbo, at ipinangako niya ‘to sa atin,” Gerry Arances of CEED said.
In a statement, PMCJ’s Ian Rivera said: “Given this behavior and this kind of trajectory, we doubt that Duterte can fulfill his promise of change in the next five years.”
Senator Risa Hontiveros, who is also an environmental advocate, criticized the administration for focusing on its war on drugs and neglecting to address environmental issues.
“It is unfortunate that we have not seen a clear environmental agenda from President Rodrigo Duterte,” she said.
“In his single-minded focus on his bloody and abusive war on drugs, he has ignored our deteriorating environmental situation,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
The groups also criticized the Commission on Appointments’ decision for rejecting Lopez as DENR secretary.
“Ang pagkakatanggal kay Gina Lopez ay isang napakalaking dagok pagdating sa climate change policies.”
“Nung siya ay nanunungkulan bilang secretary, malinaw ang posisyon at direksyon ng DENR,” Arances said.
“Dahil sa kanyang pagkaka-reject, bumalik na ulit ang mga kawatan diyan sa ahensiya ng gobyerno,” Garganera added.
Before the green march, the environmentalists held a ‘Green SONA’ at the Quezon Memorial Circle where they rated the performance of the administration as “poor.”
“In the 60 environmental policies that Duterte promised, only 11 were implemented,” Angelica Dacanay, a representative of GTC, said.
Ifugao Representative Teodoro “Teddy” Baguilat Jr., who is also one of the proponents of some of the environmental policies in the congress, was also present in the assembly.
“Kinakailangan naman na meron kayong kampeon sa Kongreso upang humarap ngayong araw at siguraduhin, at sasabihing ipaglalaban natin itong green agenda sa Kongreso,” Baguilat revealed. – Celine Amilhamja, Renz Paolo Regis, trainees
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