Time for clean-up

IT’S time to clean-up. The elections are over. We have done what should have been done. We’ve elected our village leaders. It’s time to start anew. But first, let’s have some cleaning up to do.

The environmental group EcoWaste Coalition reminds us that the clean-up should take place before campaign materials – posters, stickers, streamers and what have you – turn into health and environmental hazards.

Win or lose, the candidates should remove all their campaign materials. Sooner or later, these same materials will turn into garbage, blocking storm drains or falling on motorists and pedestrians.

EcoWaste president Roy Alvarez said winning candidates should lead the community clean-up drive. It’s cheaper actually than giving victory parties that will cost them thousands of pesos.

No Thank Yous, said Alvarez. Thank You posters and banners will only add to the garbage woes, especially in the National Capital Region.

“In lieu of boring and ‘plastic’ signage, please say ‘thank you’ by organizing street, market or estero clean-up or tree-planting activities involving your constituents,” Alvarez suggested.

His group reports that during a limited 10-day campaign period, candidates spent tons of paper and plastic materials for leaflets, stickers, posters, streamers, buntings and sample ballots.

These can still be “repurposed,” he said. Do not just throw or burn them.

Newly-elected officials should show themselves capable of enforcing the law by implementing the Local Government Code especially provisions pertaining to pollution control and environmental protection, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

Aside from environmental clean-up, we hope that yesterday’s elections have also cleaned our villages of overstaying politicos who had served for thousands of years without any plan of leaving.

We also hope that it would be the last of the Sangguniang Kabataan elections. As mentioned in several commentaries, dirty politics seemed to have started early with our young people.

In Barangay Manresa in Quezon City, several young people were reported taken by a group of people to an undisclosed destination for “rest” the night before the start of voting. They call it “koral” or the herding of voters to ensure that they vote as one for a certain candidate or candidates.

Inday Espina writes on abs-cbnNews.com that the practice was done all over the country. Mothers in Oras, Eastern Samar, had to “reclaim” their teenage children from the homes of SK candidates or from beaches where kids are told to stay overnight and depart in groups for polling centers, Inday writes.

“In Sta. Rita, Cabiao, Nueva Ecija, free cellphone loads, food and money up P500 were the sweeteners…. SK candidates were also offered a few thousands of pesos to withdraw from the race.”

One “Bayan Patroller” was quoted as saying that even with a President who has pledged to tread the straight and narrow, political corruption remains endemic.

“When will we learn to respect the electoral process? Now even young people are cynical about elections.”

It’s time for a serious clean-up. Joe Torres

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