Green Group Backs “Basura-Free” Polls, Asks “Gibo” to Campaign Green

Quezon City. The environmental advocacy group EcoWaste Coalition has thrown its support behind an inter-agency drive to prevent and reduce campaign trash as the official campaign period for national positions and party-list groups commences on February 9.

The EcoWaste Coalition has conveyed its support to the “Basura-Free Elections 2010” to be launched by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in partnership with the Commission on Elections, Department of Interior and Local Government, National Solid Waste Management Commission, and the Philippine Information Agency.

Being a government-led initiative, the EcoWaste Coalition expects no less than former Defense Secretary Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro, Jr., the pro-administration presidential bet, to lead and extend all out support to greening the political campaign.

The EcoWaste Coalition in May last year launched a similar advocacy with the support of COMELEC Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Armand Velasco and Leonard Leonida, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Caloocan Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr. and the Miss Earth Foundation.

“We support all initiatives that will encourage those seeking elective offices to plan and manage their campaign in an environmentally-responsible manner,” said Rei Panaligan, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We hope that well-meaning candidates will abide by the DENR-led drive to cut campaign trash,” he stated.

Adding that “as pro-government standard bearers, we expect Gibo Teodoro and his running mate Edu Manzano and their entire slate and machinery to commit themselves to campaigning clean as enunciated by the DENR, a government agency.”

“The people will be watching how politicos and groups of every political hue will honor or trash Mother Earth,” he emphasized.

The EcoWaste Coalition has put forward some guidelines that can help candidates, political parties and party-list groups campaign in a non-wasteful way.

To get started, the EcoWaste Coalition proposes that all those running for May 2010 polls should assign a person or team in the campaign structure who will be responsible for greening the campaign strategies and activities.

Candidates should refrain from using excessive campaign materials such as leaflets, pamphlets, posters, stickers, decals, cloth and tarpaulin streamers, and other campaign paraphernalia.

As much as possible, propaganda materials should be in post-consumer recycled paper and carry a friendly reminder that says “para sa ating kalusugan at kalikasan, huwag pong ikalat, itambak o sunugin” or its equivalent in local languages.

Candidates should refrain from using campaign materials that are hardly reused or recycled such as confetti, buntings and balloons, which often get burned or discarded in waterways, seas and dumpsites.

Politicos should spare the trees of propaganda materials that can harm and even kill them, and reject graffiti or vandalism to popularize themselves.

For litter-free campaign meetings, sorties and related activities, the EcoWaste Coalition recommends the following:

• Shun throwing confetti, exploding firecrackers or releasing balloons in campaign events.

• Refrain from using Styrofoam, plastic bags and other single-use containers for volunteers’ meals and drinks.

• Set up segregated waste bins for biodegradable and non-biodegradable discards in campaign assemblies.

• Designate “eco-volunteers” to look after the bins and guide the public in the proper separation of their discards.

• Clean up right after the campaign event.

• Hire eco-aides to handle the segregated wastes for recycling and composting.

As per Commission on Elections (COMELEC) resolution 8646, the campaign period for Presidential, Vice-Presidential and Senatorial positions and for party-list groups taking part in the party-list system of representation will commence next Tuesday, 9 February 2010.