DENR pushes for ‘garbage-free’ elections
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - January 30, 2016 - 11:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — As the May 9 election approaches, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently launched a campaign called “Basura-Free Election 2016” to assure a garbage-free elections.

The DENR partnered with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in its drive, themed "Kalat Ko, Linis Ko," for waste-free elections.

The campaign aims for the proper disposal of campaign material waste and to help in cleaning up the surroundings after the polls.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said the dirve launched Friday was in anticipation of the large volumes of waste expected to be produced in the coming nationwide elections, most of which will be from campaign posters and flyers.

“With the number of candidates on the campaign trail, one can just imagine the volume of campaign materials that will be generated and most of these will end up as garbage,” Paje said.

“This is the topmost concern we have and our partners in the green movement who are intensifying their campaign for a greener election, calling on the candidates themselves to clean up their act,” he added.

The DENR’s waste-free elections campaign was exactly the same campaign implemented by the DENR during the 2013 midterm elections.

At present, the campaign is supported by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, major political parties, party lists, candidates, youth leaders and civil society members.

To renew their commitment, officials led by DILG Policy Compliance Monitoring Chief Rhodora Flores, and Laguna Gov. Ramil Hernandez, and local environment and natural resources officers representing the 45 local government units, signed a manifesto of commitment to carry out a memorandum circular jointly issued by the three agencies in 2013.

The manifesto seeks to ensure compliance with the provisions of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, by political parties, candidates and their supporters during the election campaign and post-election periods.

The agreement coincided with the 15th anniversary of the law’s implementation.

Among the civil society groups vowing support for the campaign are Eco-Waste Coalition, and Mother Earth Foundation and Miriam College.

National Solid Waste Management Commission Secretariat Executive Director Eligio Ildefonso likewise expressed the full support of the Comelec as told by its spokesperson James Jimenez.

“The office of Comelec spokesperson Jimenez has called up to express full support to our program. It is unfortunate that the signing event coincided with the scheduled trial runs of the PCOS machines which require the full deployment of the entire COMELEC workforce from top to bottom,” Ildefonso said.

The DENR, meanwhile, urged the public to cooperate in its campaign by reporting cases of election-related littering to authorities or by directly seeking the attention of candidates about these concerns at public forums.

“This is particularly what the DENR, DILG and COMELEC are pushing through this effort—an awareness campaign to encourage voters to choose and watch out for candidates who really care about the environment,” Paje said.

The campaign period for national positions will officially start on February 9 while campaign for local posts is set on March 25.

ACIRC AS THE MAY BASURA-FREE ELECTION CAMPAIGN COMELEC DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT ECO-WASTE COALITION ECOLOGICAL SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT ACT ENVIRONMENT SECRETARY RAMON PAJE JAMES JIMENEZ
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