Citizens’ Coalition to Ask Presidential Contenders to Explain their Green Agenda

Quezon City. Over 100 civil society leaders today announced their plan to ask presidential wannabes running in the 2010 polls to disclose their positions and solutions to burning waste, climate change and chemical safety issues facing the nation.

The EcoWaste Coalition in a resolution unanimously adopted at its 10th General Assembly held at the University of the Philippines, Diliman campus resolved to launch a Green Electoral Initiative (GEI) that will find out and analyze the “greenness” of the 10 presidential candidates.

The waste and pollution watchdog carried out similar surveys, along with Greenpeace and other allies, during the elections in 2004 and 2007 where the group also asked the politicos and political parties to prevent and reduce their campaign trash.

“It is high time to raise the bar of disclosure and debate about the candidates’ green agenda that can guide the electorate in choosing new leaders who will show the way towards a clean and sustainable future,” said Manny Calonzo, President of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“It is not enough for the candidates to profess their concern for the environment. Voters need to know where the candidates stand on key challenges, as well as their plans and respective track records in the environmental field. It is imperative for the public to ask these questions and for the candidates to respond truthfully,” he explained.

Survey forms will be sent to all presidential candidates, namely ex-President Joseph Estrada, former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, Senators Noynoy Aquino, Dick Gordon, Jamby Madrigal and Manny Villar, Jr., Olongapo City Councilor JC de los Reyes, environmentalist Nicky Perlas, evangelist Bro. Eddie Villanueva and financial consultant Vetallano Acosta.

The questions will delve on various environmental issues of prime interest to communities and social sectors, including zero waste, water protection, climate change mitigation, chemical safety, ecological agriculture and renewable energy.

The answers of the respondents will be analyzed and graded from “green to gray” by a panel of evaluators composed of non-partisan environmentalists.

The survey results, to be divulged sequentially per issue in the run up to the national and local elections on 10 May 2010, are expected to generate information that will assist voters to make informed “green” choices.

“We hope that the candidates will cooperate fully, respond to the survey promptly, and take this opportunity to communicate to the electorate their environmental vision and platform of action,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.

In the same General Assembly, the EcoWaste Coalition also resolved to campaign for policies and measures that will promote Zero Waste as a climate mitigation strategy; close, clean up and rehabilitate the Payatas dumpsite; curb chemical pollution from the rising volume of e-waste; and eliminate lead in household paints.