ENVIRONMENTAL groups today launched the 2007 Green Electoral Initiative, urging Filipinos to “vote for a green future” this May.

Spearheaded by Greenpeace and EcoWaste Coalition, the initiative aims to assess the ‘greenness’ of senatorial candidates based on key environmental issues.

“The elections are a mere two and a half months away, but the country has yet to see how the environment figures in the agenda of candidates aspiring for national office,” said Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigns director Von Hernandez.

Hernandez said the current electoral contest is focused on “political realignments, mudslinging, fluff, and scandals,” while environmental issues are “given only slight, and sometimes not even token treatment.”

“With the Green Electoral Initiative, we are challenging senatorial aspirants to disclose how the welfare of the environment figures, or doesn’t figure, in their political plans,” he said. “For a nation that is regularly confronted with serious environmental threats, and increasingly frequent environment-related calamities, it is unthinkable that this issue has not even merited prominence in the current debates.”

The candidates will be assessed based on a questionnaire that focuses on 10 issues: climate change; water; solid waste; genetically modified organisms (GMOs); sustainable agriculture; logging; mining; air pollution; toxic waste trade and the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA); and the candidate’s environmental track record.

Read the 2007 Green Electoral Initiative questionnaire.

Once the survey has been completed, the candidates will be ranked from a green to gray spectrum.

In the 2004 presidential elections, the late Raul Roco emerged as the greenest. Greenpeace reported that Roco’s environmental agenda then included the implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, the immediate moratorium on the release of GMOs, a strong demand for the U.S. to clean up its toxic legacies in Clark and Subic, and the support for the development of renewable energy sources.

President Gloria Macapagl Arroyo meanwhile ranked third. Greenpeace said Arroyo received a low ranking because environemental groups disapproved of her pro-GMO position and her active promotion of mining.

“The choices the electorate will make in May will help decide whether the country is headed for a green—or gray—future,” added Hernandez.

Hernandez said the results of the survey will help voters decide based on issues instead of personalities.

He said the most important environmental concerns to be addressed by the candidates are the passage of the renewable energy bill, which has been pending since the 12th Congress; the approval of the log ban bill, which has not been passed by the past four Congresses; and the contentious issues surrounding JPEPA.

On the issue of renewable energy, for example, Greenpeace said there is actually enough wind resource to meet the energy needs of the world four times over. In the Philippines alone, there is an estimated 70,000 MW of wind energy potential waiting to be tapped.

Environmentalists say the passage of the renewable energy bill will improve the country’s energy self-sufficiency and will consequently decrease the country’s dependence on imported oil.

Hernandez said the candidates must also make a stand on JPEPA, which he described as a “dangerous deal” that “will open the floodgates to waste dumping from all over the world.”

The Senate failed to ratify JPEPA, which accorded waste products from Japan zero tariff treatment, before sessions ended last month. Arroyo however said the agreement would be among her top priorities in the next Congress.

“We need to make our democracy work for a greener future,” Hernandez said. “We cannot be ruled by ignorant, short-sighted, and greedy people and expect things to turn out better. We need leaders of great clarity and vision who will help reverse environmental ruin.”

The results of the 2007 survey will be released before the celebration of the Earth Day on April 22.

See Von Hernandez’s ‘Vote for a Green Future’ powerpoint presentation.

2 Responses to Is your candidate Green?

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INSIDE PCIJ » Green or grey?

April 21st, 2007 at 10:36 am

[…] A candidate’s “greenness” was based on one’s stand and track record on key environmental issues such as climate change, waste trade and the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), sustainable agriculture, deforestation, and air and water pollution. (See questionnaire) […]

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i-site’s 2007 Election Files » Green or grey?

April 21st, 2007 at 10:38 am

[…] A candidate’s “greenness” was based on one’s stand and track record on key environmental issues such as climate change, waste trade and the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), sustainable agriculture, deforestation, and air and water pollution. (See questionnaire) […]

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