5 March 2007, Quezon City.
Green groups today urged Filipinos to “vote for a green future” this May during the launch of the 2007 Green Electoral Initiative in Quezon City.
Spearheaded by the EcoWaste Coalition and Greenpeace, the Green Electoral Initiative aims to assess the “greenness” of aspiring senators based on their positions on key environmental issues and produce a guide that will help Filipino voters make more informed choices in the coming elections.
The elections are a mere two and a half months away, but the country has yet to see how the environment figures in the agenda of candidates aspiring for national office. For the most part, political realignments, mudslinging, fluff, and scandals still predominate the discourse of the current electoral contest, while environmental issues are given only slight, and sometimes not even token treatment. For a nation that is regularly confronted with serious environmental threats, and increasingly frequent environment-related calamities, it is unthinkable that this issue has not even merited prominence in the current debates,” said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Campaigns Director Von Hernandez.
“With the Green Electoral Initiative, we are challenging senatorial aspirants to disclose how the welfare of the environment figures, or doesn’t figure, in their political plans.”
As part of the initiative, Greenpeace and EcoWaste Coalition are sending out survey forms to all senatorial aspirants. The questionnaire, developed in collaboration with various environmental groups, focuses on key issues concerning water, solid waste, toxic waste trade and the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), genetically-modified organisms, sustainable agriculture, logging, mining, climate change, and air pollution. Candidates are also asked to disclose their track record in the environmental field and what measures for the planet they intend to initiate if elected to office.
“These are legitimate election issues that will have direct impact on community health and environment. As senatorial candidates woo us for our votes, it is their responsibility to tell the people their positions and planned actions on these issues,” said EcoWaste Coalition Coordinator Rei Panaligan.
“We need to make our democracy work for a greener future. The environmental crisis is as much a political crisis. We cannot be ruled by ignorant, short-sighted, and greedy people and expect things to turn out better. We need leaders of great clarity and vision who will help reverse environmental ruin, move us quickly from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and help empower Filipinos to secure a safe and decent future. The choices the electorate will make in May will help decide whether the country is headed for a green or gray future,” added Hernandez.
The Green Electoral Initiative 2007 is the second of its kind; the first of such projects was launched before the 2004 elections. The questions in the survey form this year were contributed by the Alyansa Tigil Mina, Basel Action Network Asia Pacific, Cavite Green Coalition, Concerned Citizens Against Pollution, EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Health Care Without Harm, Miriam PEACE, Mother Earth Foundation, Philippine Greens, and the Philippine NGO Council for Security and Fair Trade.
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