Group wants ‘balanced’ environment agenda for candidates
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - April 24, 2019 - 5:02pm

MANILA, Philippines — An environmental advocacy group has called on all political candidates to bare their agenda on environmental sustainability and push for balanced policies in managing the country’s natural resources.

The Philippine Business for Environmental Stewardship (PBEST) is challenging senatorial and local candidates to state their agenda to address the most urgent environmental challenges in the country as midterm polls near.

PBEST convenor Carmelo Bayarcal said balanced policies mean that the stewardship of the environment and economic development should not be in conflict.

“There is a middle ground approach to harnessing the development of potential of our natural resources that does not compromise the environment,” he said.

PBEST challenged candidates to disclose their agenda on environmental sustainability emphasizing that environmental concerns have only been cursory and novelty platforms for political candidates and existing regulations are softly enforced.

“The repercussions are real, and we are starting to feel them. The sooner we and the candidates realize that the environment agenda is fundamentally linked to other ‘conventional’ election issues such as power, water, food security and even job creation, the sooner we can make development sustainable,” Bayarcal said.

Further, PBEST maintained that the recent disruptions such as erratic water supply, food inflation due to precarious supply, intermittent power interruptions and natural disaster are all linked to the environment.

“Climate change has exacerbated the repercussions of mankind’s historic pursuit of progress often to the neglect of the environment,” Bayarcal said.

“We cannot talk of prosperity if it is unsustainable. It should be clear to all of us by now that natural resources are not infinite. All talks of progress and economic growth will not be possible nor make sense if we do not address the sustainability of these initiatives,” he added.

PBEST noted that investors are also considering the sustainable growth of the economy before coming into the country.

“Imagine investing so much on infrastructure only to be marred by a lack of power supply, or inviting foreign investors only to drive them away by the rise in cost of doing business as a result of imbalanced supply and demand,” Bayarcal said.

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