Environmental activists set ‘green’ demands to electoral aspirants

22 March 2010
Press Release

Weeks before the May 2010 Elections and exactly a month before the Earth Day, green groups challenged those running in office to adhere to a ‘green’ set of demands and actions if they are indeed pro-people and pro-environment.

The alliances, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) and League of Youth for the Environment (LFYE), urged voters to choose candidates on the basis of their stand and track record on critical environmental issues.

“If a political candidate is genuinely one with the people, then they would correctly align and adopt the people’s electoral platform and oppose any national policy or project that is detrimental to the people and environment’s welfare, ” said Meggie Nolasco of Kalikasan PNE.

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The programs, policies and principles that puts forth the interests and welfare of the environment and Filipino people are contained in the 2010 People’s Electoral Platform for the Environment, crafted by advocates from different environmental and people’s organizations.

“Progressive and patriotic leaders would push for policies that correspond to and reject those that violate the following principles: respect for the rights of the natural nurturers of the earth; an independent and self-reliant economy; national progress and industrialization; rehabilitation and protection of the environment; peace based on justice; and clean governance,” cited Ms Nolasco.

The Agenda also contained specific demands and actions that a patriotic leader will heed such as the junking of the Mining Act of 1995 which has been a persistent call of environmentalists and mining affected communities as it legalizes the liberalization of our mining industry and permits 100% foreign corporations to utilize and profit from our mineral resources. Commercial and large-scale mining has brought nothing but poverty, environmental degradation, economic and physical displacements and countless human rights violations to our communities.

Another is to stop the privatization of the country’s energy and water resources that lead to the scarcity and price hikes experienced by the people. Building of large dams (such as the Laiban dam), nuclear plants (like the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant), coal-fired power plants and other environmentally destructive and controversial projects that do not answer the root causes of our energy and water crises be also be abandoned.

Forests must be conserved and rehabilitated as with the areas that have been deeply eroded and devastated by landslides. The group prescribes a massive reforestation program and the cancellation of commercial logging permits.

Also included is the call for the cancellation of international treaties that are unfair and not beneficial to the country such as the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) that allows the dumping of toxic wastes of Japan here in the country.

“These calls and issues have been the long-time demand of communities and the basic sectors. Realization of these calls would translate to a better life for majority of the people and a step towards ensuring that the natural resources would be benefitted by the majority and not just a small group of local and foreign elite and businesses,” said Nolasco.

According to Ms. Nolasco, “A candidate’s position will stand to be realized only if his or her background and track-record also shows clear environmental and pro-people position.”

The group cited and commended the initiative of the League of Youth for the Environment (LYFE) a University of the Philippines based alliance of environmental groups which conducted a survey and background check on the level of environmentalism of the candidates running for office this May 2010 elections. The report is said to serve as a guide for voters especially the youth to help them identify environmental leaders and help them choose their leaders wisely.

“Another indicator if a candidate is pro-people and pro-environment is if it promotes a kind of governance different from our current one. To speak favorably on certain issues is one thing but to represent the corrupt administration is a grave contradiction to the interests of the people,” expressed Ms. Nolasco.

The group claimed that in almost nine years in governance, the current Arroyo administration did not heed the people’s demands to protect and rehabilitate our environment and instead continued the wholesale of our national patrimony to big private and foreign companies.

These economic and political policies and projects of the Arroyo regime in the name of so called “national development” have resulted in environmental destruction, underdevelopment and widespread poverty. (Bulatlat.com)

Reference: Meggie Nolasco, Public Information Officer, Kalikasan-PNE

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