We must support Earth Hour tomorrow

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - March 29, 2019 - 12:00am

In case you are not aware of this global activity, tomorrow is supposedly “Earth Hour” where we are all encouraged to turn off our lights and power in solidarity with the rest of the world. When Earth Hour was launched last year, more than 17,900 landmarks and monuments in over 180 countries and territories switched off their lights to show their commitment to and support for raising awareness and inspiring action on conserving nature and biodiversity. This worldwide event trended in 33 countries and garnered more than 3.5 billion impressions worldwide.

Earth Hour 2019 is an opportunity to create an unstoppable movement for nature and WWF-Philippines is anchoring this year’s celebration on single-use plastics, one of the biggest threats to biodiversity. We should fully support and adopt the WWF network’s “No Plastics in Nature” initiative, WWF-Philippines believes that Earth Hour 2019 is the best way to send out a clear message to take a stand against plastic pollution towards its ultimate goal of mobilizing public support for legislations on plastic waste management.

The Philippines has lately been known as the third major plastic polluter of oceans in the world, and Filipinos must unite and create concrete steps to stop this worsening situation. We cannot forget that a sperm whale beached here recently and when its stomach was examined, the reason why the whale died was because it ingested so much plastic. Thus we must work harder to prevent single-use plastics from entering nature; it is a big step towards a greener, more sustainable planet. So let’s support Earth Hour tomorrow!

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Finally, the campaign for candidates for the local level has started. I just hope that they all listened to the Commission on Elections announcement to remove all illegal posters that they have already placed in strategic areas; these include photographs and names of candidates on government vehicles, including ambulances. Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said government agencies should not be involved in partisan politics so their facilities and properties should be devoid of campaign materials.

We also learned in the news that in compliance with the Comelec directive, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has issued a memorandum prohibiting the posting of campaign materials in all facilities of the Department of Health. In Department Memorandum 2019-0129 dated March 25, Duque reminded DOH officials, hospital directors, and heads of attached agencies that they are bound to comply with Comelec rules and regulations in connection with the May 13 midterm elections. I’m glad that the DOH secretary issued this memorandum so the public is well-informed about which political posters are not allowed.

Secretary Duque made the reiteration after Guanzon called on the DOH to remove Malasakit Center posters featuring senatorial candidate Bong Go from the hospitals. Indeed, many Malasakit posters featured Go, which was okay before the election campaign started, but it has since become illegal. Please don’t forget that we are voting people into public office, hence we expect them to follow the Comelec rules.

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We learned from the news that no less than President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the re-arrest of the 17-year-old suspect in the killing of 16-year-old Christine Lee Silawan in Lapu-Lapu City. If indeed, that kid was the killer, his arrest should give justice to poor Christine Silawan because the suspect was released for having been arrested by the NBI without a warrant. President Duterte told the prosecutor to recall the dismissal order and have the suspect rearrested.

But the boy’s lawyer said that the president did not have the authority to order the prosecutor to release the boy because “we are not a dictatorship.” But then the lawyer failed to realize that one of the jobs that President Duterte had before he became mayor of Davao City was being one of the city’s prosecutors. President Duterte said: “I’m sorry. Because I have been a prosecutor. I was a trial fiscal for almost nine years. So alam ko ‘yung the pain of seeing a case dismissed by a mere technicality.” I don’t think that President Duterte would make such an order without any legal knowledge of the case. I believe that the solution of the crime is far more important than a legal technicality!


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