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On Valentine’s Day, green activists, youth call for commitment to ‘love’ for country

The groups wrote a “love letter” to the country, outlining the impact of the climate crisis on their loved ones, fellow Filipinos, and respective communities

On Valentine’s Day, Greenpeace and various youth groups called on political candidates to prove “love for the country” by committing to an electoral agenda that addresses climate and environmental injustices.

The groups wrote a “love letter” to the country, outlining the impact of the climate crisis on their loved ones, fellow Filipinos, and respective communities.

The “love letter” will be sent to the candidates for their signature and commitment to the calls, which include prioritizing environmental and social issues in electoral discourse.

“We feel that the discussions around the 2022 elections, so far, have been missing key issues that matter to the youth and our loved ones,” said Cris Jamil Hertez, 20, of the Better Normal Youth Movement.

“At a time when both a health and a climate crisis are upon us, and with the most crucial election of our generation coming up, we have to listen to those who will reap the fruits – or consequences – of today’s actions,” said Hertez.

Rorei Asinero, 22, of the TreeBuk Project, said that while the believe in “bayanihan” and individual responsibilities, “we can only do so much as citizens.”

“If these candidates truly love the country, as they say during their campaign sorties, they must show that love by protecting the Philippines and Filipinos from the worsening impacts of the climate crisis.”

- Newsletter -

In a statement, Greenpeace said 2022 is a crucial window for climate action, given the urgency of addressing the climate crisis.

A report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change earlier affirmed that the climate system is rapidly changing, and the scale of change is unprecedented.

“It also affirmed that weather extremes will be more intense and more frequent,” said Greenpeace.

“Our next leaders have a prime opportunity to put the nation on alert and institute policies that would help us in the struggle for climate justice,” said Greenpeace campaigner Joanna Sustento.

“The strength of those vying for power should be tested on destructive industries such as fossil fuels and single-use plastic production, who should be held accountable for their contributions to the climate crisis,” she added.

The group had previously called on candidates in the 2022 elections to highlight climate issues on the campaign trail and unveil their strategies for addressing the climate crisis.

Greenpeace is also urging Filipino voters, especially the youth who comprise a majority of the voting population, to consider these when choosing the right leaders.

“This is not just shading on a ballot, we are talking about the future of our country and our next generations,” said Sustento, adding that 2022 “should not just be another year of loss and statistics.”

The Love, 52 Youth and Elections Movement is built on the participation of more than 20 organizations from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, with different advocacies, including human rights, mental health, good governance, and the environment.

Love, 52 is a reference to the 52 percent youth composition of the current voting population. According to the Commission on Elections, 52 percent of the voting population comprises Filipinos aged 18-40.

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