Advocacy Election Environment Zero Waste

EcoWaste Coalition Appeals to Midterm Poll Candidates Not to Flood Pilgrimage Trail with Campaign Posters

Group urges politicians and parties not to politicize Holy Week religious rites

A waste and pollution watch group asked candidates and parties for next month’s polls to refrain from inundating streets leading to pilgrimage sites with election posters.

The EcoWaste Coalition, an advocate for clean and green election campaign, urged national and local candidates, as well as party-list groups, not to take advantage of the huge crowds that are expected to gather at popular pilgrimage sites this week.

“Campaigning activities are forbidden by law on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. However, many candidates and parties may exploit the large throngs of pilgrims visiting religious shrines or performing penitential acts to draw attention to themselves,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“While they may not be physically present, we may find their posters all over the place as if begging for votes as the polling day nears,” she said.

“Some politicians may even set up water, first aid and emergency response stations in mobile tents with their names and faces prominently shown,” she added.

“We therefore appeal to all well-meaning politicians and groups not to politicize the faith-centered religious activities lined up for the Holy Week. If you sincerely want to help, please don’t brag about it to achieve your political ends,” she said.

The EcoWaste Coalition likewise appealed to the public not to leave trash in churches and pilgrimage sites such as the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Cathedral in Antipolo City and the Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine in San Jose del Monte City.

“We appeal to all pilgrims, especially the youth joining the Alay-Lakad penitential walk, to show concern and respect to your fellow human beings and to the environment by not littering,” said Lucero.

Littering, the group reminded, is an environmental offense punishable under national and local laws.

R.A. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, prohibits the “littering, throwing, dumping of waste matters in public places, such as roads, sidewalks, canals, esteros or parks, and establishment, or causing or permitting the same.”

Litterbugs could be fined P300 to P1,000 and/or be required to render community service from one to 15 days, according to R.A. 9003.

The EcoWaste Coalition will field Basura Patrollers on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday to monitor compliance to R.A. 9003, particularly in major pilgrimage sites that attract hundreds of thousands of pilgrims.