Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pursue ‘green’ electoral reforms, Comelec chief urged

Environmental advocates called on the newly-appointed Comelec Chairman to include “green” electoral reforms in his promise of reorganization within the electoral body.

Environmental network EcoWaste Coalition, in a letter sent to the Comelec office, asked Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes to put a stop on political activities that pollute the environment.

The group expressed hope that a re-organized poll body under the new chairman will work not only for political rights but also for environmental rights of the people.

“We hope that the COMELEC, under your watch, will exercise effective leadership to protect not only the sanctity of the ballot, but also safeguard the environment from further degradation associated with political activities,” the letter read.

Signatories to the letter were environmental leaders from the Alaga Lahat, Angkan ng Mandirigma, Ang NARS, Buklod Tao, Cavite Green Coalition, Citizens Concerned with Advocating Philippine Environmental Sustainability, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Krusada sa Kalikasan, Miriam PEACE, Mother Earth Foundation, November 17 Movement, Philippine Earth Justice Center and Zero Waste Philippines.

Past elections have shown the failure of Comelec and local government units to strictly enforce electoral and environmental laws, the groups said.

They noted the rampant disregard of electoral and environmental laws during election period including widespread posting of campaign materials outside Comelec-designated areas and distribution of sample ballots on elections day.

The groups also called on the Comelec to promulgate the Implementing Rules and Regulations for sectoral representation at local legislative bodies as required by the Constitution and R.A. 7160.

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

They noted that the marginal sectors need a stronger voice in the local lawmaking councils as they are the first victims of environmental degradation.

Reaffirming their willingness to work with the electoral body to “green” the elections, the groups sent Brillantes a list of proposals that, if implemented, will “lead to an environmentally-responsible exercise of the people’s right of suffrage and authentic participatory governance through sectoral representation.”


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