Environment watchdog EcoWaste Coalition on Friday lauded former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s eco-friendly campaign, saying more candidates in the May 2022 elections should take concrete steps towards addressing the country’s mounting pollution crisis.
“Nagpapahayag ito ng kanyang malalim na pagkalinga sa kalikasan at mahalagang mission na gawing mas malinis, ligtas, at maayos ang kampanya hanggang sa araw na halalan,” Zero Waste Campaign Officer Jove Benosa said on March 4, 2022, referring to Cayetano’s announcement earlier this month to launch a campaign that uses less waste and encourages supporters to recycle, among other action points.
(This shows his deep commitment to the environment as well as the important mission of making the campaign cleaner, safer and more orderly right up to election day.)
The group urged candidates to follow Cayetano’s example and come out with their own platforms and plans for the environment, with the Philippines being known globally as one of the countries most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
“Maganda po kung ang bawat kandidato ay may malinaw na plataporma at kongkretong ambag o sagot sa lumalalang problema sa polusyon at environmental crisis,” Benosa said.
(It’s good for each candidate to have clear platforms and concrete contributions or solutions to our worsening pollution problem and environment crisis.)
Data compiled by EcoWaste Coalition reveal that single-use campaign materials increase the amount of waste generated nationwide during election years by as much as 30 to 40 percent.
This is on top of the estimated 16.6 million metric tons of waste produced by the country every year, which makes the Philippines the third-worst solid waste polluter among Southeast Asian countries.
“Maliban sa unsightly litter and illegal waste dump o mga tambak, nagdudulot din ang campaign waste ng dagdag na trabaho at kapaguran sa ating mga kolektor ng basura at sa mga sektor na namamahala sa kalinisan at kaayusan ng kapaligiran,” Benosa added.
(Aside from unsightly litter and creating illegal waste dumps, campaign waste also causes additional labor for garbage collectors, sanitation workers and other environmental personnel.)
The EcoWaste Coalition pointed out that voters should view campaign waste as an election issue, saying candidates’ attitudes toward their campaigns’ environmental footprint are a reflection of their personal values and their sincerity in championing the environment.
“Dapat pong maging sukatan ito ng ating mga mamamayang botante sa pagpili ng bawat tumatakbong kandidato sapagkat ito ay repleksyon ng personal na katauhan ng kandidato, at sumasalamin sa malinaw na bitibit nilang programa sa kalikasan at lumalalang problema ng polusyon sa ating bansa,” Benosa said.
(Our voters should make this a benchmark for choosing candidates because it is a reflection of their personal values, and which translate to their clear programs for the environment and the worsening pollution problem in our country.)
Cayetano lauded for tree-planting call
The EcoWaste Coalition also lauded Cayetano for calling on his supporters to plant trees and start urban gardens instead of producing single-use campaign materials, saying the initiative can help people enhance their communities.
“Malaking tulong kung ang lahat ay mahimok na kumalinga sa kalikasan – tulad ng pagtatanim ng puno, mangroves, pagtatayo ng urban vegetable and vertical gardens sa kani-kanilang komunidad at pamayanan,” Benosa said.
(It would be a big help if everyone is encouraged to care for the environment, by planting trees, mangroves, starting urban vegetable and vertical gardens in their respective communities.)
As part of an unconventional shift to an eco-friendly election campaign, the former Speaker had called on supporters earlier this month to plant more trees and transform urban spaces into gardens.
“Nakikiusap ako sa ating mga supporters na kung gusto niyo po sumuporta, imbes na gumastos pa sa tarpaulin or kung anuman, magtanim ng puno, ng mangrove, or kung nasa city kayo, marami pong bagong style ng urban farming,” Cayetano said in a media interview on February 8, 2022.
(I ask our supporters that instead of spending on tarpaulins and the like, they could instead plant trees, mangroves or if they are in the city, there are many new styles of urban farming.)
The former House Speaker, who is gunning for a Senate comeback in the upcoming national elections, announced on February 7 that his campaign will be an eco-friendly one with the aim of reducing waste.
“Napakagandang halimbawa at inisyatiba po ito sa ating mga kandidatong naghahangad ng posisyon at maglingkod sa sambayanan,” Benosa said.
(This is a wonderful example and initiative to our candidates who yearn to serve the people.)