April 21, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – Environmental groups and advocates on Tuesday launched a new campaign against vice presidential aspirant Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
In a forum held at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, the groups led by Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) signed a unity statement that vowed to campaign against the return of the Marcoses to Malacañang.
Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE, said they feared that environmental crimes committed during the iron rule of Bongbong’s father, Ferdinand Marcos, might happen again if the Senator gets a step closer to Malacañang.
During the martial law years, the groups said Marcos implemented policies and projects, which wrought massive environmental pollution and destruction.
For instance, it noted that the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines led to massive deforestation and commodification of forest resources.
From 1965 to 1986, the groups said seven million hectares of the country’s forests were lost because of Marcos’ timber licensing agreements.
Despite strong opposition from communities, the groups noted that the Marcos government constructed the first dirty coal power plant in 1983, the Calaca Coal-Fired Plant in Batangas.
Up to the present, it said locals continue to bear the brunt of the displacement and pollution caused by the power plant.
The groups added that Marcos also attempted to implement numerous corrupt-laden and extremely hazardous projects such as the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, the Chico River Dam Project in Kalinga, and the Kaliwa-Kanan Dam in Rizal.
“Until now, Bongbong and the rest of the Marcoses have refused to admit or show remorse over their sins and crimes in the past,” Bautista said.
“Bongbong is also linked to entities that have unscrupulous environmental records,” he added.
According to Bautista, they suspect that the huge personal funding of Bongbong may have come from the family’s $10-billion ill-gotten wealth.
“Some of which are likely sourced from the various destructive mining and other extractive projects during the dictatorship,” he noted.
“Thus, the growing consensus across the Philippine environmental movement is that the unrepentant environmental criminals that are the Marcos dynasty should never again be allowed to return to power,” he added.
Aside from mass actions and forums, the groups said they will use the social media to campaign against Bongbong and block his bid for the vice presidency.
“To protect our environment, we should never vote for Bongbong and oppose the return of Marcoses to Malacanang,” Bautista said.
Other signatories in the unity statement were Envi Vote Alliance, Amianan Salakniban, BUKAL Batangas, Center for Environmental Concerns, Citizen Disaster Response Center, GreenResearch, NILAD, PUSOD Inc., SIBAT, UP Minggan, UP Saribuhay, AGHAM, AGHAM Youth, BAYAN NCR, and Hustisya. – RBA