Civil society organizations gathered to call for a ‘clean and green’ election season, urging candidates to minimize waste, refrain from ‘dirty’ tactics such as political violence, as well as pledge to support genuinely positive reforms on many thematic issues on the environment, climate, and development.
“The Green Thumb Coalition (GTC) – the largest network of civil society organizations working on environmental policy believes that the candidates’ commitment to advance policies promoting the environment, sustainable development, and people’s welfare is reflected in the kind of campaign candidates are running,” said Paeng Lopez of Health Care Without Harm, head of the GTC electoral campaign. “Apart from their promises, their campaign practices reveal their loyalty – or lack of loyalty – to our environment and our people,” he added.
For his part, Tony Dizon of Ecowaste Coalition pointed that, “Even before the elections, we are seeing many candidates and their supporters engage in wasteful campaign practices by using unsustainable materials like tarpaulins, and generating piles of campaign-related wastes during their sorties. This is not a good sign that such candidates, once elected, will truly fulfill their responsibilities as good stewards of the environment.”
GTC called on candidates to commit to a zero-waste elections, urging them to produce less printed materials and other sources of trash, refrain from plastic banners/streamers, and utilize other means of avoiding waste in their campaign. Equally important, they also called on candidates to exercise transparency and honesty.
“On top of being clean in their use of resources, it is important that candidates who seek to be elected also maintain a clean track record free from engaging in political harassment, violence, bribery, and other forms of unethical strategies that erode the democratic process of elections,” said Fr. Angel Cortez of the Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement. “It cannot be understated how much the nation needs moral uprightness, decency, and respect for human rights to be restored in political affairs. Candidates, if they seek to prove their sincerity and win the hearts of their constituents, will choose to lead in this manner.”
Candidates urged to embrace Green Platform
The Coalition also encouraged candidates to align their platform with solutions to issues concerning dirty and costly energy, waste management, comprehensive land use, mining, climate justice, biodiversity, human rights, and sustainable development, collectively known as the Green Electoral Platform.
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) National Coordinator Jaybee Garganera reiterated the importance of political will in pursuing meaningful change in many areas of environmental policy. “The protection of our rich ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as reforms in fishing, forestry, mining, energy, waste sector, and the entirety of environmental policy is not possible if we do not elect leaders who have the heart to end the suffering of farmers, fisher folks, Indigenous Peoples, and communities who are most affected by environmentally-destructive practices,” he pointed out.
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