‘Presidentiables’ dared: Out environmental platforms

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QUEZON CITY, Feb. 8, 2016 – Months before 2016 elections, various church and pro-environment groups joined forces Friday in a bid to challenge presidential “hopefuls” to put socio-environmental issues at the center of their electoral platforms.

“Elections are not just about personalities and politicians but is an opportunity to enjoin people to act collectively on important issues like the environment and the climate,” said Gina Lopez of Bantay Kalikasan in a statement.

Called themselves the “Green Thumb,” the coalition was brought together by a common mission to raise awareness on naturally interrelated environmental issues connected to social matters, especially poverty and corruption.

Green agenda

According to organizers, the group aims to get the commitment of national and local candidates to embrace a “green agenda,” and hold newly-elected public officials accountable on their positions to their environmental mandates.

“We aim to raise the discourse on the environment among the national consciousness during and after the election period,” Lopez added.

The Green Thumb Coalition also plans to engage with political aspirants and the voting public by raising the debate on eight key environmental issues at the national level, including:

  • biodiversity and ecosystem integrity
  • natural resource and land use management and governance
  • human rights and integrity of creation
  • climate justice
  • mining, extractives, and mineral resource management
  • energy transformation and democracy
  • sustainable food sovereignty
  • people-centered sustainable development
  • waste

Environmental responsibility

According to lawyer Aaron Pedrosa, who serves as Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) Energy Working Group head and SANLAKAS secretary-general, the Green Thumb Coalition is set to hold “green sorties” in 15 provinces nationwide to foster discourse on environmental and climate agenda, and to challenge candidates to support the campaign.

“When communities, homes and lives are on the line in the context of climate change, leaders ought to take heed,” he explained.

Among others, the coalition is composed of:

  • Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Justice (CBCP-NASSA)
  • Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM)
  • Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement (ECOJIM)
  • Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP-JPIC)
  • Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ)
  • SANLAKAS, Save Sierra Madre
  • ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc. (ALKFI)
  • Climate Reality

(Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)

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