Green Groups Rank Presidential Candidates’ Platforms on Clean Water

Quezon City. To mark World Water Day, the environmental advocacy groups EcoWaste Coalition and Greenpeace today disclosed their ranking of the presidential candidates’ platforms on clean water grading them 0 to 10, with 10 being the “greenest.” Activists with nine empty pails of various sizes representing the scores of the candidates lined up ala “pila-balde” before a traditional water pump.

Environmentalist Nicky Perlas garnered the “greenest” mark with 8.7 points, while independent candidate Sen. Jamby Madrigal landed second with 7.8 points and Bagumbayan standard-bearer Sen. Dick Gordon finished third with 7.2 points.

The three candidates obtained the highest marks among the respondents for their clear, comprehensive and progressive positions and plans on protecting the country’s water resources.

Bangon Pilipinas aspirant Bro. Eddie Villanueva scored 4.8 points, Liberal frontrunner Sen. Noynoy Aquino and Nacionalista contender Sen. Manny Villar both took 3.6 points, and Ang Kapatiran bet Olongapo Councilor JC de los Reyes got 2.7 points.

Former Pres. Erap Estrada of Partido ng Masang Pilipino and ex-Defense Sec. Gibo Teodoro of Lakas-Kampi-CMD automatically got zero points for not responding to the survey.

“This is the first in a series of ‘green’ rankings that we will release to inform the voters how those aspiring to lead our nation intend to tackle the country’s environmental woes such as the
declining quality and quantity of our freshwater sources due to the continued generation and discharge of pollutants from household, agricultural and industrial sources,” said Manny Calonzo of the EcoWaste Coalition.

The panel of non-partisan evaluators noted that on the issue of water, many of the candidates focused on enforcement as key to addressing water pollution.

“This lack of imagination and focus on enforcement alone will not give the Filipino people clean water. We need front end solutions like better watershed management as well as a shift from dirty production to Zero Discharge and Clean Production in order to stop pollution at source,” said Beau Baconguis, Greenpeace Southeast Asia’s Toxics Campaigner.

Both the EcoWaste Coalition and Greenpeace see the need to put in place a robust policy and program that aim for Zero Discharge to reduce pollution in the country’s freshwater and groundwater sources as well as an to avert looming chemical threats to our remaining water supply. They also view as essential the observance of the attendant policy on Right to Know where pollution releases are concerned.

The ranking is based on the candidates’ responses to the 2010 Green Electoral Initiative (GEI) survey initiated by the groups to assess and grade the positions and plans of the presidential wannabes on raging environmental issues, including water pollution. They were scored based on the clarity, quality, comprehensiveness, consistency and integrity of the candidates’ positions and plans.

Further results of the GEI survey will be revealed in the coming weeks, culminating in final “green” ranking come Earth Day in April.

The candidates were asked two questions related to water: (1) If elected President, what specific steps will you take to ensure the availability of clean water sources in the country? (2) Are you for or against amending the Clean Water Act to incorporate and institutionalize a framework of Zero Discharge of hazardous chemicals from factories and domestic sources?

According to New York-based think tank Global Source, in their latest paper on the impact of El Niño in the Philippines, recent studies show that unless active steps are taken to protect and conserve the Philippines’ freshwater sources, the amount of freshwater available for each person by 2025 will decrease dramatically by 65 % of the current per capita availability.

Contact information:

• Manny Calonzo, EcoWaste Coalition +63922 8286343, (632) 4364733 mannyc@no-burn.org
• Beau Baconguis, Toxics Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia +63917 8715257, (632) 4146512 loc 119 beau.baconguis@greenpeace.org