Cebu News

Officials call for garbage-free election

Kristine B. Quintas/ATO - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Let the May 9 polls be “garbage- free.”

This is the call of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-7 to all political parties and aspirants, and the general public, for the observation of a “green” or earth-friendly campaign to ensure a clean and waste-free election.

“We call on our candidates to take a closer look on the environment by placing waste avoidance and reduction as part of their advocacy and strategy,” said DENR-7 Regional executive director Isabelo Montejo.

Montejo made this appeal following the launching of the “Basura-Free Election 2016” drive in preparation for the official kickoff of the campaign period this February 9.

The campaign was launched in anticipation of the increase of volume of trash that may be generated as the campaign period hits its final trail. Most of the garbage expected would be from campaign posters and flyers.

 The political candidates, Montejo said, should be reminded on the many incidences of flooding affecting thousands in some parts of the country where piles of garbage have been tagged as one of the culprits that worsen the situation.

 “Heaps of garbage will surely be produced if our candidates will not do their share of thinking and doing for the environment,” he said.

 Montejo further appealed to candidates to use campaign paraphernalia made from locally-sourced and reusable materials instead of non-biodegradable stuff.

He also urges candidates to instruct their supporters not to leave trash in campaign sorties and remove campaign posters and similar materials after the elections.

The public’s participation is vital in the campaign, Montejo said, as people can report cases of election-related littering to authorities or can directly call the attention of candidates about these concerns in public forums.

DENR-7 spokesperson Eddie Llamedo said people should remain concerned with the environment while they exercise their right of suffrage.

 Similarly, Montejo urges candidates to make poles for their streamers and other campaign paraphernalia, and avoid using trees as these would pose a threat to their health and integrity.

  “Trees are important as they could reduce the impact of global warming due to carbon dioxide emissions, putting up of streamers and tarpaulins on trees especially when using iron nails could stress out and damage its health condition,” he added.

 According to studies, trees inhale carbon dioxide – one of the major contributing elements to the greenhouse effect which causes climate change – and exhale oxygen that is needed by humans and other living organisms.

 He also reminded local government units of its “primary task” of enforcing the provisions of Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. Under the law, a person caught littering could be fined from P300 to P1,000, or render community service.

 The candidates are also urged to revisit the joint memorandum circular issued by the DENR, Commission on Elections and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, to make sure that local officials, political parties, partylist organizations, candidates, and their supporters would adhere to the provisions of RA 9003 during the campaign period.

The DENR partnered with the DILG and the Comelec in its drive, with a theme “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.

The campaign, which was first implemented during the 2013 elections, is based on the provisions of Republic Act 9003, also known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 signed by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Among the civil society groups that has vowed its support for the campaign are Eco-Waste Coalition, Mother Earth Foundation and Miriam College.  (FREEMAN)



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