Advocacy Election Environment Natural Resources

Earth Day Plea: Wanted: Environmental Rights Champions at the National and Local Levels

21 April 2019, Quezon City. With barely three weeks left before the May 13 national and local elections, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the electorate to look for and support aspiring political leaders who will take up the cudgels for the people’s environmental rights.

The group pointed to the need for voters to elect true champions for the environment as the impacts of climate change, marine pollution and hazardous waste trade become more obvious every day in the Philippines and globally.

“As we mark the Earth Day on April 22, we call upon all registered voters to pick national and local candidates and party-list groups who will genuinely work with and for the people in ensuring a clean, healthy, safe and sustainable environment for all,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“At the Senate and the House of Representatives, we need legislative leaders who will defend existing pollution prevention laws such as the ban on waste incineration and who will take the lead in ensuring the enactment of long overdue environmental acts such as the ban on single-use plastic and the ban on foreign waste importation,” she said.

“We need senators and representatives across the political spectrum who will actively engage in getting national laws and regulations adopted to protect the environment against further degradation and uphold environmental health and justice,” she emphasized.

The EcoWaste Coalition, she said, is very much concerned with increasing chemical and plastic pollution that poses serious threat to the health of the overall environment, especially the world’s oceans.

“At the provincial, city and municipal councils, we need to install grassroots lawmakers who will file and fight for ordinances aimed at protecting the public health and the environment,” Lucero said.

“We want to see local government units promulgating ordinances that will ‘promote health and safety and enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology’ in line with the general welfare clause of Republic Act 7160, or the Local Government Code,” she said.

“We need more local government executives who possess the political will to promote and uphold the environmental rights of their constituents,” she further said.

“Environmental rights,” according to the Friends of the Earth International, “are human rights, as people’s livelihoods, their health, and sometimes their very existence depend upon the quality of and their access to the surrounding environment as well as the recognition of their rights to information, participation, security and redress.”

The EcoWaste Coalition expressed its hope that registered voters numbering 61,843,750, according to the COMELEC, will use their inherent discerning abilities to choose candidates and groups who will work and fight for their environmental rights.

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