Senator Pia Cayetano on Wednesday called on her colleagues in the Senate to adopt environmentally sustainable practices as an institution, saying the body should “look inward” in implementing waste reduction and disposal policies.
“We don’t suddenly wake up to a sustainable lifestyle. In sports, being able to play well in the court, in the field, doesn’t happen overnight,” Senator Pia said in her privilege speech on August 3, 2022, as she stressed the advocacy she shares with her brother, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, to reduce plastic and paper waste in the country.
“It starts with day-to-day habits, day-to-day changes that seem small at first, but collectively and over time, they result in big changes,” she added.
Senator Pia also spoke for her brother in pushing for the move, saying Senator Alan is “one with us in sustainability.”
Senator Alan had himself run on an eco-friendly campaign that steered clear of the use of printed materials and plastic campaign paraphernalia and urged supporters instead to plant trees, start urban gardens, and conduct bike caravans in place of the usual motorcades.
For Senator Alan, the times call for bold steps to protect the environment, which he said is tantamount to protecing ourselves.
In her privilege speech, Senator Pia zeroed in on reducing single-use plastic waste generated by the Senate. To illustrate her point, she distributed tumblers to all the senators present, underscoring the need to reduce the use of disposable plastic bottles in the Senate.
“Let’s ban the use of PET bottles in the Senate. Ban also the use of sachets, hindi naman natin kailangan magtipid by buying products in sachets, we can buy bigger units and be more economical,” Senator Pia said.
She also mentioned that the Senate uses too much paper on a daily basis and urged her colleagues to go digital and stop using printed materials during sessions.
Senator Pia, who chairs the Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Innovation, and Futures Thinking, said the Senate should form a team to collect data on waste generation in the institution, as well as an internal office on environmental sustainability.
“Everybody should do whatever they are comfortable with, but what I’m saying is that we should do our part to reduce our environmental impact as an institution,” she said.