Sunday, January 23, 2011

Green elections

The newly appointed chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Sixto Brillantes Jr., must now be up to his neck in suggestions on how to refurbish the tainted image of the poll body.

While most of the proposals hurled at Brillantes are political in nature, the EcoWaste Coalition is urging him to pursue what environmental advocates call "green electoral reforms."

"In view of his promise to carry out massive reforms within the commission, we urge Chairman Brillantes to equally introduce changes that will 'green' and cut the wastefulness in future polls," said EcoWaste Coalition President Roy Alvarez.

Reckless political activities that waste resources and pollute the surroundings have to go, the EcoWaste Coalition said.

"Our monitoring of the 2007 and 2010 elections shows blatant breach of electoral, as well as health and environmental regulations traceable to the failure of Comelec, national agencies and local government units to enforce electoral and environmental laws," the coalition and its allies said in a letter to Brillantes.

Some of the typical environmental lapses noted in past elections, include: the uncontrolled plastering of campaign posters outside Comelec-designated areas, most notoriously on trees, electric posts and walls; the hanging of campaign flags, lanterns and streamers in streets and alleys; the display of "indirect" campaign-related banners such as graduation and fiesta "greetings" and announcements extolling the projects and achievements of politicians.

Other violations of environmental laws committed in connection with elections include the unregulated noise from mobile political propaganda and during campaign meetings; the rampant distribution and littering of sample ballots on election day; the open burning of campaign waste, which even Comelec offices practice despite the ban on burning under Republic Act 9003; and the failure to immediately remove campaign materials after the election period.

The groups also called Brillantes' attention to the Comelec's failure to promulgate the implementing rules and regulations for sectoral representation at local legislative bodies as required by the Constitution and the Local Government Code

"We hope that in 2013 elections, the mandate for sectoral representation for local lawmaking bodies will finally be made," the groups said.


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