April 22, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – The Luntiang Bayan, a network of animal welfare and environmental organizations, on Thursday declared Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago as the “greenest” among the presidential candidates for her good track record and stand on environmental issues.
“Santiago topped all categories of the 7-point agenda because of her pro-environment legislative output and public statements that raise attention on the need to reverse the rapid deterioration of the ecosystem,” said Mong Palatino, chairman of Nilad.
Nilad is one of the convenors of Luntiang Bayan, which rated each candidates running for president, vice president, senator, and party list on the following issues: animal welfare and wildlife protection, biodiversity and ecosystems protection, adaptation to climate change/disaster preparedness and mitigation, food security, sustainable development, solid waste management, and environmental justice.
Based on the group’s assessment, Duterte placed second because of several ordinances passed by Davao City banning large-scale mining and aerial spraying in plantations.
Senator Grace Poe landed on third place, while Senator Mar Roxas, who is the candidate of the ruling Liberal Party, ranked fourth.
Palatino said the low ranking of Roxas was due to his support to various “dirty” programs of the Aquino government such as the building of coal plants and expansion of destructive mining operations.
Vice President Jejomar Binay placed last for his pro-mining and no track record on solid waste management.
Among the vice presidentiables, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero scored highest, followed by his fellow senator, Gringo Honasan.
Palatino said Escudero and Honasan scored high on climate change adaptation.
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. ranked third, followed by Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV.
Rep. Leni Robredo placed sixth for her fewer legislative proposals compared to other vice presidential candidates.
For the senatorial candidates, the top four “green” bets were Juan Miguel Zubiri, Neri Colmenares, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, and Senator Ralph Recto.
For the party list race, the leading groups with consistent pro-environment record were Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, Butil, and ACT Teachers.
Palatino said the Luntiang Bayan is not endorsing any candidate.
He said they assessed each candidate so voters could use the results as a guide to verify the environment record of candidates.
“We hope they (voters) will be able to identify candidates who are genuinely concerned about the environment and those who only have a superficial understanding of what needs to be done to preserve our precious natural resources,” Palatino said.
“We ask the voters to choose the candidate who takes positive action in ensuring our clean future and dump the candidate who promotes dirty business interests,” he added.
Aside from Nilad, other convenors of Luntiang Bayan are Earth Island Institute Philippines, Miriam College Environmental Studies Institute, Philippine Animal Welfare Society, Save Philippine Seas, Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, Ecowaste Coalition, Save Freedom Island Movement, Pull OutCOALition, Save Laguna Lake Movement, Piglas, UP Green League, Miriam Environmental Planning Organization, and UP Minggan. – EAN