Group launches SONA clean-up drive for ‘segregation’ of policies

GREEN group today joined the annual People’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) by launching a “Linis Brigada para sa Kalikasan 2012” (Clean-up Drive for the Environment) and challenging the Aquino administration to “pursue genuinely clean and green governance.”

Armed with walis ting-ting and other cleaning implements, members of Kalikasan Partylist brought to the SONA protest a mobile waste disposal facility for fellow protestors to use.

“Linisin ang Bayan! Ipagtanggol ang Kalikasan!” was the chant of environmental groups under Kalikasan Partylist during the protest.

“The Aquino administration should learn to segregate its policies: discard those that are disastrous to the environment and to the people’s welfare but develop those which support people’s initiatives and alternatives as well as clean and green governance,” said Kalikasan Partylist President Clemente Bautista, Jr.

“We classify as “toxic” and “nabubulok” (biodegradable or rotting) those policies, programs and problems under Pres. Aquino which have endangered our ecosystems and the people’s lives,” Bautista said.

“These include public-private partnerships (PPPs) which promote foreign and large-scale mining projects, coal-fired power plants, reclamation of coastal areas, and the privatization of the water and electricity sectors. These include the unabated killings of environmental advocates under the Aquino administration, such as Leonard Co, Dr. Gerry Ortega, Fr. Pops Tentorio and most recently Willhelm Geertman,” he said.

“Even if the Aquino administration issued two major executive orders (EOs) on logging and mining, these have failed to stop deforestation and the plunder of our limited but rich mineral wealth. EO 23, issued in 2011, imposed a log ban but exempted a lot of deforestation drivers, such as plantations and mining areas, from this. EO 79, issued earlier this July, only strengthened the Mining Act of 1995 and the liberalization of the Philippine mining industry in exchange for a marginally higher government share,” he added.

“On the other hand, there are policies which Pres. Aquino should pursue, which can be classified as “hindi nabubulok” (non-biodegradable). These policies can be further promoted, used and developed for the people’s welfare, such as the proposals for a People’s Mining Bill and the call for a plastic ban in schools,” Bautista added.

“The Aquino administration should make good its two-year promise to pursue clean and good governance. However, this has yet to be fulfilled as we see dirty politics and dirty policies littering our government,” Bautista said.

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