Quezon City. As candidates gear up for the synchronized barangay and youth elections on October 25, environmentalists advised aspiring community leaders to wage a no frills and garbage-free campaign.
Leaders of the EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watchdog, exhorted all aspirants to campaign "green" as the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) announced last Tuesday the calendar of activities in connection with the upcoming polls.
As per COMELEC Resolution No. 9019, candidates may file their certificates of candidacy from October 1 to 13, and may start to campaign beginning October 14 to 23.
‘As frontline leaders in building clean and healthy neighborhoods, we expect those seeking barangay and youth council positions to set a good example in green leadership and governance by campaigning simply and ecologically,” said Roy Alvanrez, President, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Instead of wasting resources for excessive campaign leaflets, posters and banners that will likely end up as trash, why not mount a more personal campaign that will foster better connection between the candidates and the grassroots?,” Alvarez suggested.
“A no frills house-to-house calls, street corner chats, ‘palengke’ and 'barbero' visits and meetings with different neighborhood associations are effective means for reaching out and informing voters about the candidates’ credentials and plans,”he said.
Community members, the EcoWaste Coalition pointed out, will be searching for would-be leaders who can offer hopes as well as deliver real solutions to typical barangay concerns such as ecological waste management, disaster preparedness, drug abuse prevention, public safety and order, conflict resolution, jobs and livelihoods.
“Given the state of the climate and the environment, voters will keep their eyes open for potential leaders who can enforce the basic elements of community-based Zero Waste resource management, a key strategy to foster clean and healthy communities,” stated Eileen Sison, NGO Representative to the National Solid Waste Management Commission.
“We therefore suggest to candidates to commit clearly how they intend to implement R.A. 9003 locally. Of course, they will have more credibility if they walk their talk and adhere to garbage-free campaigning,” added Sison, another leader of the EcoWaste Coalition.
Under R.A. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, the barangay is tasked to develop an ecological solid waste management program, promote waste separation at source, enforce a segregated collection for biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste, and establish Materials Recovery Facilities (MRF) in every barangay or cluster of barangays.
The MRF, also known as Ecology Center, is a basic mechanism for the systematic management and recovery of useful discards, which would otherwise end up in waterways, dumpsites or landfills and result to pollution.
Data from the website of the National Solid Waste Management Commission show that there are 6,141 MRFs serving 6,744 barangays as of the last quarter of 2009, which is only 16% of the 42,000 barangays across the archipelago.
The EcoWaste Coalition also stressed the need for barangay leaders to recognize, integrate and partner with the informal recycling sector, including the waste pickers, in the community implementation of R.A. 9003.
Garbage disposal through open dumping, open burning or through “sanitary” landfills and incinerators can lead to the formation and release of toxic leachate, greenhouse gases, persistent organic pollutants and other chemical threats to the community health and environment, the EcoWaste Coalition explained.
COMELEC Resolution No. 9019: