Green group to Aquino: Sustainable dev’t should be your agenda

AN independent global campaigning organisation said President Benigno Aquino’s lack of a clear vision and understanding on sustainable development is pushing the Philippines further down the road to ruin.

This was the message of environmental group Greenpeace to the President, on the conclusion of the Earth Summit 2012 (Rio+20).

The group accused the President of taking a non-committal stance on key environmental issues, and criticized his inability to rally the government to take real and decisive action to combat environmental destruction and climate change.

Beau Baconguis, Program Manager for the Philippines, Greenpeace Southeast Asia said “the Philippines is one of the most vulnerable and least prepared to deal with the catastrophic impacts of climate change. We’ve all witnessed how natural disasters have increasingly worsened during recent years. More lives have been lost, and billions have been spent to rehabilitate devastated provinces. Yet, the President still refuses to steer the country into the path of sustainable and equitable development, much to the detriment of ecological integrity and the survival of the Filipino people.”

The group said many of the current programs of the Aquino government negate what could have been positive steps to achieve the goals of a green economy.  A clear example of this is the Renewable Energy Law which should wean the country away from destructive fossil fuels. But the law is not yet fully implemented. Worse, the Aquino administration has approved an unprecedented number of harmful coal-fired power projects.

Other green issues that Malacanang needs to address include genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). Despite a policy that supports organic agriculture, the current administration has not reversed the existing flawed approval process which has allowed the entry of GMO crops which are harmful to human health and the environment, into the food and farms of the country.

“President Aquino started his administration with a strong stand against deforestation.  However, with regard to other environmental issues he has failed dismally.  The President must realize that his task is to ensure the country’s sustainable development so that further human and societal damage, as well as ecological degradation and devastating climate change impacts, can be avoided.  The government must prioritize and support green investments which will help put the country on a low-carbon growth pathway, instead of pursuing investments which are harmful to society, peace and order and the environment.

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