Green groups, EcoWaste Coalition and the National Coalition to Save the Trees (NCST), today appealed to all individuals and groups who are running in the midterm elections this coming May to spare the trees of campaign materials.
The groups jointly aired the appeal after eco-volunteers found plastic posters nailed or tacked on trees by candidates’ supporters in the hopes of getting voters’ attention ahead of the official campaign period.
“Trees don’t vote. For the sake of life-sustaining trees, we appeal to all candidates and their backers to voluntarily remove campaign materials on trees,” the groups said.
Environmental and human rights advocate Father Robert Reyes of the NSCT urged candidates to respect the trees as he likened the nailing of posters on trees to the torture and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
“The Roman executioners nailed Jesus to a tree. Don’t candidates repeat the deadly act by nailing their posters on trees? Yes, but instead of killing Jesus and us directly, they are slowly killing the trees. Genuine politics does not hurt or kill whether persons or trees. Do not kill trees. Do not kill us,” said Reyes.
Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner of the EcoWaste Coalition added that “the nailing of posters and banners on trees is blatantly unlawful and has to stop” as he asked aspiring political leaders to “be the first ones to uphold the laws protecting trees from human abuse and disrespect.”
Republic Act 3571, as amended by Presidential Decree 953, prohibits the “cutting, destroying or injuring of planted or growing trees, flowering plants and shrubs or plants of scenic value along public roads, in plazas, parks, school premises or in any other public ground.”
Presidential Decree 953 states that violators “shall be punished with imprisonment for not less than six months but not more than two years, or with a fine of not less than P500 but not more than P5,000, or with both such imprisonment and fine at the discretion of the court.”
“If the offender is a public officer or employee, he shall, in addition, be dismissed from the public service and disqualified perpetually to hold public office,” the law said.
According to the NCST and the EcoWaste Coalition, tacking or nailing campaign materials could stress out trees and make them vulnerable to decay-causing micro-organisms, bad insects, and diseases causing stunted growth, shorter lifespan and premature death.
“We have the shared responsibility to protect trees as they clean the air we breathe, store water and prevent soil erosion and floods, serve as homes for other living organisms, and provide us with food, medicine, paper, and other essential needs,” the groups said.