13 October 2010

Greens Appeal to Barangay and Youth Candidates to Care for Mother Earth

Quezon City. As thousands of aspiring Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan leaders hit the campaign trail starting tomorrow, green activists reminded them to be respectful of the environment as they race to woo voters in their respective communities.

The EcoWaste Coalition in a creative action held today in front of the Quezon City Hall called the candidates’ attention to the dire situation of the environment and the need for concerted action during and after the electoral campaign.

As a poignant reminder of the state of the environment, the activists presented a tableau of an ailing Mother Earth lying on a bed of garbage with a non-mercury thermometer in her mouth and covered with a blanket made of assorted political posters and tarpaulins left over from the May 10 elections.

Beside the bed-ridden Mother Earth were activists holding mock ballot boxes signifying the power of the people through the ballot to elect leaders who will watch over the environment and nurse her back to health.

Among those who joined the EcoWaste Coalition-led event were members of Ang Nars, Buklod Tao, Citizens Concerned with Advocating Philippine Environmental Sustainability, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Kupkop Kita Kabayan Foudation and Zero Waste
Philippines.

“The October 25 polls provide an exceptional platform for would-be public servants to make a stand for the environment,” stated Dr. Leah Primitiva Samaco-Paquiz, Secretary of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“We call upon all candidates and their supporters to conduct a simple and caring campaign that will preserve and protect the community environment from destructive practices,” she said.

“We further request them to emphasize environmental and health education, protection and mobilization at the grassroots as integral components of their proposed program of government,” she added.

The EcoWaste Coalition invited all candidates aspiring for at least 336,200 elective positions in the country’s over 42,000 barangays to shun campaign practices that defile and pollute the environment such as the:

- nailing, hanging and pasting of campaign materials on trees and other places prohibited by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC);
- spending beyond the COMELEC ceiling of P3 per registered voter in the barangay;
- producing too much campaign materials that only end up as garbage;
- driving smoke-belching vehicles in campaign motorcades;
- blasting extremely loud political jingles and speeches;
- leaving trash in campaign sorties; and
- failing to remove campaign materials immediately after the polls.

For a climate and environment-friendly campaign, the EcoWaste Coalition invited candidates for the October 25 synchronized Barangay and SK polls to observe the following guidelines.

To get started, the EcoWaste Coalition proposes that all those running for the polls should assign a person or team in the campaign structure who will be responsible for greening the campaign strategies and activities.

Candidates should refrain from using excessive campaign materials such as leaflets, pamphlets, posters, stickers, decals, cloth and tarpaulin streamers, and other campaign paraphernalia.

As much as possible, propaganda materials should be in post-consumer recycled paper and carry a friendly reminder that says “para sa ating kalusugan at kalikasan, huwag pong ikalat, itambak o sunugin” or its equivalent in local languages.

Candidates should refrain from using campaign materials that are hardly reused or recycled such as confetti, buntings and balloons, which often get burned or discarded in waterways, seas and dumpsites.

Politicos should spare the trees of propaganda materials that can harm and even kill them, and reject graffiti or vandalism to popularize themselves.

For litter-free campaign meetings, sorties and related activities, the EcoWaste Coalition recommends the following:

• Shun throwing confetti, exploding firecrackers or releasing balloons in campaign events.
• Refrain from using Styrofoam, plastic bags and other single-use containers for volunteers’ meals and drinks.
• Set up segregated waste bins for biodegradable and non-biodegradable discards in campaign assemblies.
• Designate “eco-volunteers” to look after the bins and guide the public in the proper separation of their discards.
• Clean up right after the campaign event.
• Hire eco-aides to handle the segregated wastes for recycling and composting.

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