Environmental Groups Lament This Year’s “Green” Survey Results

The results are
in. A survey conducted by environmental groups for the Green Electoral
Initiative (GEI)[1]
2013 resulted in a very poor response rate from senatorial candidates. Out of
the 33 senatorial candidates, only six — or a measly 18%– replied to the
survey. Those who sent in their responses to the GEI questionnaire included Samson
Alcantara, Sonny Angara, Teddy Casiño, Bal Falcone, Risa Hontiveros and Cynthia

“We appreciate the efforts
of these candidates who took the time to study the issues and respond to the
survey despite their busy campaign schedules . It  provides us a good indication of their agenda
for the environment if they are elected as legislators, and equally important
where they stand on the critical environmental issues of our times. However,  the dismal overall response rate to the survey
is itself lamentable. This does not reflect well on the priorities of the
country’s aspiring leaders,” said Von Hernandez, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

The GEI questionnaire lined up the 10-point
legislative agenda[2]
of environmental groups composed of Greenpeace, EcoWaste Coalition, and Global
Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA). It sought out the views and plans
of senatorial candidates to address today’s most pressing environmental issues
including Chemical Pollution and Consumer Safety, Solid Waste, Sustainable
Agriculture and Genetically Modified Crops, Climate Change Adaptation, Energy, Oceans
and Mining.

Of those who responded, Angara,
Casiño, Hontiveros and Villar provided clear categorical answers with concrete
plans to pursue legislative solutions or proposals on specific issues. While
the four candidates supported an increase in uptake of renewable energy, not
everyone agreed to phase out dirty energy sources such as coal and
waste-to-energy facilities. Casiño and Hontiveros clearly favoured phasing out
coal. All four were also against the recommissioning of the Bataan Nuclear
Power Plant.

All respondents
agreed that public access to pollution information was crucial in curbing
pollution and committed to push for the establishment of Pollutant Release and
Transfer Register[3]
(PRTR).  Angara, Hontiveros and Villar had very clear positions and plans that
would push for the elimination of hazardous chemicals in consumer products. On the issue of plastic
bags, Angara, Hontiveros and Villar committed to pursue legislation that would
regulate them at a national scale.

All candidates support the
reduction of chemicals in agriculture as well as promote ecological
agriculture. While all commit to mandatory labelling of genetically engineered
products and ingredients, only Angara, Casiño and Hontiveros and agree to a ban
field releases of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Finally, on the question
whether they have been involved in or benefited from environmentally
destructive projects, Casiño and Hontiveros emphatically stated that they have

“This should serve as a
guide to voters when they cast their ballots on Monday. If elected, we hope these
candidates will follow through on their commitments,” said Aileen Lucero,
National Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition. “To those who project and package
themselves as environmental crusaders, but have not responded to this survey, we
challenge them to walk the talk. They should go beyond rhetoric and pursue
legislation that would advance the  protection of the environment,” Lucero added.

The GEI is a project of Greenpeace, Global
Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and the EcoWaste Coalition and its member
organizations started in 2007. It is a venue to engage candidates and the
voting public on environmental issues. The survey is aimed at drawing out the
green agenda of the candidates so that voters are able to choose green
[3] This policy establishes a Pollutant
Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) which allows the public free access to
information on hazardous chemicals and is aimed at pollution reduction.