HomeNewsFaith-based, civil society groups demand ‘green agenda’ from political candidates

Faith-based, civil society groups demand ‘green agenda’ from political candidates

The groups recommended 20 policies that include “strategic climate action, transition to renewable energy and phaseout of coal by 2030”

Church and civil society organizations called on those running in this year’s national elections to present their “environmental agenda” and “greener economic policies.”

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, vice chairperson of Caritas Philippines, said politicians “can no longer pretend that we still have plenty of time to dilly-dally in changing our polluting ways of life.”

In an online media briefing on February 7, various groups took turns in calling for “balanced, just, inclusive, and ecologically-sound approaches to achieving prosperity, planetary, and people’s health.”

Bishop Alminaza said the country cannot “hide behind excuses of economic development to justify environmental destruction and sacrifice the well-being of communities and ecosystems.”

The prelate said it is high time for politicians to make the climate crisis and the degradation of the environment “the front and center issues” of the May elections.

He said the call for a people-centered leadership that responds to the “cry of the Earth” is “a long and arduous journey” that will not end on the election day.

“[It will] continue as our unity in these demands remain critical in sustaining action for our environment and people,” said the bishop.

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Aileen Lucero, national coordinator of EcoWaste Coalition, said the elections must provide Filipinos an “opportunity to install leaders” who will pursue “holistic and sustainable solutions, not band-aid schemes.”

Yolanda Esguerra of the Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. said candidates must also champion the recognition of the rights of nature.

“We need to transition to a more organic and circular economic system,” she said, adding that “only when we can change our relationship with nature can we effect real change in social systems.”

Rodne Galicha of Living Laudato Si Philippines said the demand for a greener agenda “will settle for no less than what is just, compassionate, and economic growth to prioritize the reparation of the climate impacts and development of the marginalized communities.”

In a joint statement, the faith-based and civil society groups recommended 20 policies that include “strategic climate action, transition to renewable energy and phaseout of coal by 2030.”

They also called for the protection of the territory and marine ecosystem in the West Philippine Sea, and “a shift away from extractivist economy.”

“These demand a pursuit on a just transition to an economy dominated by more sustainable technologies and cultures, such as renewable energy, alternatives to plastics, and a zero-waste lifestyle,” read the statement.

The groups also urged candidates to include the declaration of climate emergency in their agenda.

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