The ‘Green Vote’ campaign by non-government organizations should go beyond politics and involve a comprehensive discussion about the environment and economy, private think tank ADR Institute on Strategic and International Studies said.
ADRI president Dindo Manhit said ‘green vote’ manifests the loud call for the next government to approach the issues of environment and economics as one comprehensive agenda.
Renowned geologist and ADRI trustee CP David agreed, saying that environmental issues facing the country are complex and will need to be seriously addressed by the candidates.
“Aside from mining, politicians vying for national positions should debate on marine protection, forestry, solid waste management and, of course climate change in relation to disaster risk management,” he said.
Environment advocacy group Philippine Business for Environmental Stewardship also said the ‘green vote’ for the upcoming 2016 elections should be about policy reform and not politics.
“A ‘green vote’ can be the vehicle to force solutions to the environment issues into the election debate and adopted in their platforms,” said PBEST secretary general Ysan Castillo.
More than discrediting candidates because of their associations with mining, the ‘green vote’ should distinguish between the legitimate and highly regulated mining operations and illegal mining.
“Mining by itself is not bad, but illegal practices and poor regulation resulting in damage to the environment gives a negative image to the industry that has the potential to be an economic game changer not just on a national but on far flung local areas with rich mineral deposits,” Castillo said.
PBEST cited three of the country’s biggest mines that voluntary submitted their operations to third-party scrutiny last year to assess compliance with relevant environmental regulations.
The Padcal mine of Philex in Benguet; the mine of Taganito Mining Corp., a Nickel Asia Corp. subsidiary in Surigao del Norte; and the mine of Carmen Copper Corp., subsidiary of Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp. in Cebu all scored top marks in the PBEST Environmental Performance Tracking Program (EPTP).
“The environment had never figured prominently in any administration’s agenda,” Manhit said.
“So, the real task for the next president is determining how to strike a balance between environmental stewardship and development,” he said.
Source URL: The Standard