Quezon City. Leading political, religious and civil society personalities have thrown their weight behind a timely proposal for President Benigno “ P-Noy” Aquino III to lead a nationwide crusade to make the Philippines litter-free.
A lady senator, an elderly statesman, a prelate, a beauty queen, a former health secretary and the 13th placer in the last senatorial race have expressed support for a campaign to keep the country tidyand healthy.
Last Monday, the EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watchdog, urged P-Noy to campaign for a “litter-free Pilipinas” in view of the anticipated rains and floods due to the La Niña weather occurrence.
“Garbage thrown in public places ultimately find their way into the ocean causing untold pollution that pose grave threats to marine wildlife and also to humans. A litter-free Pilipinas will contribute to protecting the ocean and the coastal ecosystems,” said Senator Pia Cayetano, chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography.
For Akbayan senatorial bet Risa Hontiveros, "a litter-free Pilipinas goes beyond clearing our streets and waterways of trash."
"If successfully carried out, it will mean far-reaching departure from the throw-away mindset and ecological apathy to a new people's culture of caring for our Mother Earth. This is one excellent campaign that P-Noy should be concerned about," she said.
"Reckless disposal of discards attracts rodents and pests posing health risks, especially to young children. Let's end this health-threatening habit and work for a clean and safe environment,” said Dr. Jimmy Galvez Tan, a health, wellness and environmental advocate and former health department chief.
Beauty queen-turned-environmentalist Cathy Untalan called to mind the wrath of typhoon Ondoy that ravaged our country last year.
“Now, the slightest rainfall makes many fear of another tragedy waiting to happen. The message is clear: We must learn how to manage our waste or else it finds its way back to us,” said Untalan, who acts as Executive Director of the Miss Earth Foundation.
“We urge our dear President to lead the campaign for a litter-free Philippines the same way he promises to clean up our government of corrupt officials. We painted the town yellow in testimony of our desire to make positive changes in our society. It is now time to wear the color green to symbolize the need for a more ecologically-sound Philippines,” she further said.
Caloocan Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr. emphasized that a litter-free country corresponds with the “people’s quest to enjoy a better quality of life in clean, healthy and safe communities.”
“It’s important for P-Noy to be at the forefront of this campaign against littering, which is becoming a national embarrassment that has to be eliminated just like graft and corruption,” added Iñiguez, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
Statesman and former Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. agreed that "a litter-free Philippines completes a corruption-free country."