Environmentalists Ask Politicians, “Berde Ka Ba?”


(Veejay Villafranca/Greenpeace)

Popular superheroes, led
by the Hulk, the Green Lantern, and Ben 10, together with local eco-warriors
Super Walang Aksaya, Boy Bayong, and PCB Eliminator trooped to the offices of
the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Intramuros today to launch an
initiative that aims to place the environment as one of the top issues of
concern in the 2013 national elections.
superheroes were accompanied by activists from the Greenpeace, EcoWaste
Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Buklod-Tao and
Gulayan Pilapil Neighborhood Association (GPNAI). The activists wore green eye
masks as they promoted their 2013 Green Electoral Initiative (GEI) entitled
“Berde ka ba?” – a survey on the environmental position of senatorial

launched in 2007 by Greenpeace and EcoWaste Coalition, the Green Electoral
Initiative is meant to remind politicians of their constitutional obligation as
future public servants. It aims to ensure that the right of Filipinos to a
“balanced and healthful ecology” is upheld and safeguarded.

country’s leaders should be green superheroes–not jokers or, worse,
environmental villains,” said Francis dela Cruz, spokesperson for Greenpeace
Southeast Asia. “Protecting the environment should be a key national policy and
a priority election concern both for the candidates as well as the voting
public. Environmental protection directly translates to economic benefits for
the nation as a whole, for communities and for each individual Filipino.”

year’s GEI theme is called “Berde ka ba?” and was inspired by the rising
popularity of fliptop culture where people try to outwit each other through
rap. While this initiative uses humor, it asks serious questions of senatorial
bets and their political parties about their legislative agenda on the
environment should they be voted into office. For
the 2013 electoral campaign, these advocacy groups will conduct an
environmental survey based on the following agenda:

Budget appropriation for the implementation of the Ecological
Solid Waste   Management Act

Ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment

Enacting a Public Right to Know Policy on pollution

Enacting a national plastic bag ban

Enacting laws that would eliminate toxics in consumer

Enacting a law that would promote energy efficiency

March, the environmental groups will gather senatorial candidates to a public
forum to further expound on these pressing environmental issues.

senatoriables may have green pick-up lines which are effective in capturing the
attention of the Filipino public,” said Edwin Alejo, National Coordinator for
EcoWaste Coalition. “But they should go beyond mere rhetoric and pursue
legislation that would ensure protection of the environment. Our green eye
masks signify our commitment to watch over these candidates relentlessly during
the campaign period and to continue our vigilance until after they are
elected.” “While
this initiative targets the candidates, “Berde ka ba?” also challenges the
voting public to have a green conscience to ensure that the elections are clean
and honest, and to think in behalf of the environment when they cast their
votes on May 13,” said Paeng Lopez, spokesperson for GAIA.