Now that Malacañang has confirmed that the synchronized barangay and youth polls will push through as planned on May 14, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and all contenders should waste no time preparing for cleaner and greener polls.
The EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watch group, pressed the poll body and all candidates gunning for barangay and youth council posts to rally behind a waste-free exercise of grassroots democracy.
“The nine-day campaign period from May 4 to 12 need not add to the swelling garbage problem facing many of our communities,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Instead of dirty political sorties, we request aspiring barangay and youth leaders to campaign in a clean manner that will reduce the generation of trash and prevent damage to the environment,” he added.
The group lamented the wastefulness of past national and local elections with the unbridled consumption of paper and plastic propaganda materials, the unrestrained littering in public assemblies, the open burning and dumping of campaign trash, and the illegal posting of posters and banners on trees and other forbidden places.
“We know it is a tall order but we hope to see less trash in the upcoming polls,” Alejandre said.
The group also expressed its hope that all candidates will include the protection of public health and the environment against waste and pollution in their poll campaign platforms.
To steer the candidates into clean and green campaigning, the EcoWaste Coalition urged COMELEC to reiterate the use of recyclable and environment-friendly campaign materials, and the avoidance of campaign materials that contain hazardous chemicals, as stated in COMELEC Resolution No. 9615.
The group also urged COMELEC to remind candidates to comply with local ordinances governing the use of plastic and related materials.
The group further urged COMELEC to enjoin candidates and their backers to abide by Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which, among other things, prohibits littering, open dumping and open burning of trash.
“We request COMELEC to use its legal and moral authority to sway candidates and their supporters to campaign in an environmentally-responsible and non-toxic way as this is beneficial for our nation and people,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.
As prescribed by the COMELEC, the filing of certificates of candidacy will begin on April 14 and end on April 20. The campaign period will be from May 4 to 12. Campaigning is banned on May 13, eve of the election day.
Excerpts from COMELEC Resolution No. 9615:
“Parties and candidates are hereby encouraged to use recyclable and environment-friendly materials and avoid those that contain hazardous chemicals and substances in the production of their campaign and election propaganda. In local government units where local legislation governing the use of plastic and other similar materials exist, parties and candidates shall comply with the same.”