15 April 2010

Seven Presidential Candidates Declare Support for Mining and Forestry Reforms (5th installment of 2010 Green Survey)

Quezon City – Seven candidates vying for the country's presidency expressed their support for reforms in the mining and logging policies to arrest the degradation of the country's forests and natural resources.

The candidates expressed their support for the enactment of the Alternative Mining Code that seeks to revise the current framework for the mining industry. The candidates also expressed support for the imposition of a total commercial log ban in the country's remaining forests.

In this fifth installment of the 2010 Green Electoral Initiative (GEI) survey results by the EcoWaste Coalition and Greenpeace, presidential candidates' responses to mining issues were ranked with environmentalist Nicky Perlas garnering the top score of 8.9 points. Perlas was followed by Sen. Noynoy Aquino with 7.4 points, Sen. Manny Villar 6.3 points, evangelist Bro. Eddie Villanueva 6.1 points, Sen. Dick Gordon 5.7 points, Sen. Jamby Madrigal 5.5 points and Coun. JC De Los Reyes 4.5 points

For responses to the questions on forests, Sen. Madrigal topped the pack with 7.9 points followed by Perlas with 7.7 points, Gordon 7.6 points, Aquino 7.4, Villanueva 6.5 points, Villar 6.2 points and de Los Reyes 4.7 points.

Also, all seven respondents replied that they were for a total commercial logging ban on the remaining forested areas of the country. Aquino, Gordon, Perlas and Villar cited particularly primary forests for such a ban. They also cited strategic ways to curb corruption and enforce laws against illegal logging.

Former President Erap Estrada and Sec. Gibo Teodoro got zero points for both topics for their failure to answer the GEI survey.

Mining and forest issues correspond to 10 points each and will be tallied along with other pressing environmental issues to get the whole GEI scorecard of the candidates.

Meanwhile, the Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), a network of more than eighty (80) organizations from mining-affected communities and civil society organizations, laud the candidate's support for reforms on the framework for the mining industries in the country.

“For now, we are satisfied with the ‘words’ of support of the presidentiables for an alternative mineral policy. We are hopeful that whoever wins the presidential race will immediately put an end to the current flawed mining framework that did more harm than good in addressing the fiscal problems, poverty situation, environmental and other socio-political concerns in our country,” said ATM national coordinator Jaybee Garganera.

“In particular, we challenge the next administration to scrap the Mining Act of 1995, issue a nationwide moratorium on large-scale mining operations and make the Alternative Mining Bill as their priority policy within the first 100 days as head of state,” concluded Garganera.

Even though the candidates promised to support the implementation of a total commercial log ban in our remaining forests, green advocates vow to always monitor their commitments to stop the rampant extraction of the country’s natural resources.

“Our forests and ecosystems are on a precipice! Words during campaign mean nothing until whoever wins is held fully accountable. We expect immediate action and results,” said Ipat Luna, an environmental lawyer and 2007 TOYM-awardee.

The final results of the GEI will be revealed to the public in time for the Earth Day celebration on April 22.


For more information:
Rei Panaligan, EcoWaste Coalition, 441-1846/ 0920-9062348
Jaybee Garganera, ATM Coordinator, 0915- 3153719
Roslyn Arayata, ATM Policy Officer, 0917- 5217937

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