Greenpeace, EcoWaste Coalition
spearhead 'green vote' for May elections
MANILA, Philippines – Green
groups on Monday urged Filipinos to 'vote for a green future' this May during
the launch of the 2007 Green Electoral Initiative in Quezon City. Spearheaded by
Greenpeace and EcoWaste Coalition, the Green Electoral Initiative aims to assess
the 'greenness' of aspiring senators based on their positions on key
environmental issues and produce a guide that will help Filipino voters make
more informed choices in the coming elections.
"The elections are a mere two
and a half months away, but the country has yet to see how the environment
figures in the agenda of candidates aspiring for national office. For the most
part, political realignments, mudslinging, fluff, and scandals still predominate
the discourse of the current electoral contest, while environmental issues are
given only slight, and sometimes not even token treatment. For a nation that is
regularly confronted with serious environmental threats, and increasingly
frequent environment-related calamities, it is unthinkable that this issue has
not even merited prominence in the current debates," said Greenpeace Southeast
Asia Campaigns Director Von Hernandez. "With the Green Electoral Initiative, we
are challenging senatorial aspirants to disclose how the welfare of the
environment figures, or doesn't figure, in their political plans."
As part of the initiative,
Greenpeace and EcoWaste Coalition are sending out survey forms to all senatorial
aspirants. The questionnaire, developed in collaboration with various
environmental groups, focuses on key issues concerning water, solid waste, toxic
waste trade and the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA),
genetically-modified organisms, sustainable agriculture, logging, mining,
climate change, and air pollution. Candidates are also asked to disclose their
track record in the environmental field and what measures for the planet they
intend to initiate if elected to office.
"These are legitimate election
issues that will have direct impact on community health and environment. As
senatorial candidates woo us for our votes, it is their responsibility to tell
the people their positions and planned actions on these issues," said EcoWaste
Coalition Coordinator Rei Panaligan.
"We need to make our democracy
work for a greener future. The environmental crisis is as much a political
crisis. We cannot be ruled by ignorant, short-sighted, and greedy people and
expect things to turn out better. We need leaders of great clarity and vision
who will help reverse environmental ruin, move us quickly from fossil fuels to
renewable energy, and help empower Filipinos to secure a safe and decent future.
The choices the electorate will make in May will help decide whether the country
is headed for a green—or gray—future," added Hernandez.
The Green Electoral
Initiative 2007 is the second of its kind; the first of such projects was
launched before the 2004 elections. The questions in the survey form this year
were contributed by the Alyansa Tigil Mina, Basel Action Network Asia Pacific,
Cavite Green Coalition, Concerned Citizens Against Pollution, EcoWaste
Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace Southeast
Asia, Health Care Without Harm, Miriam PEACE, Mother Earth Foundation,
Philippine Greens, and the Philippine NGO Council for Security and Fair Trade.