PALAWAN, Philippines – A member of the Mimaropa Regional Development Council (RDC) is seeking a ban on single-use plastics in all regional programs, projects, and activities.
RDC private sector representative Rodne Galicha said the economic development committee he chairs had approved a resolution on November 7, enjoining local governments to prohibit the use of single-use plastics, including plastic water bottles and straws and styros that end up in seas and harm marine animals.
“Single-use plastics are not inherently Filipino. This wasteful practice is in no way part of our culture. Many communities, institutions, and local government units (LGUs) have shown that it is possible to stop this through political will and common sense,” Galicha told Rappler in an online interview Monday, November 19.
“The resolution will further be amended to include banning sky lantern and balloon releases. This will enjoin all local governments across levels in the region,” he added.
It will be endorsed for full council approval on December 6 in Palawan.
While the RDC has no legislative powers over LGUs, Galicha said they would tap the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to step in to enforce related governance and environment policies.
“We will require DILG and DENR to strengthen their efforts and submit periodic report and review,” he said.
Mimaropa fest issue
Galicha decried the exclusion of private sector in the 4th Mimaropa Festival’s planning process. The festival recently earned criticism for kicking off with a balloon releasing activity on Thursday, November 15, in Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro.
“For the record, PSRs (private sector representatives) were not invited during Mimaropa Festival’s planning process, contrary to RDC agreements. The balloon release would not happen,” he said.
Galicha, international advocacy group Climate Reality Project’s country manager, represents different sectors, including indigenous peoples, women, labor, civil society organizations, and the likes.
“PSRs sustain checks and balances in regional development. This is a wake-up call to government agencies to be more transparent. The role of PSRs are relevant and significant because they are the voice of the people the government serve,” he added.
Earlier, Department of Tourism Mimaropa Regional Director Maria Luisa Diploma said the issue would be included in the brief report on the recently-concluded Mimaropa Festival, which she would be presenting at the upcoming RDC meeting.
“I will mention this issue so that everybody also within the council, whether it is a Mimaropa Festival or other activities they have, will be aware of that,” Diploma told Rappler over phone on Sunday, November 18.
Diploma vowed there would be no balloon releasing activity in the festival kickoff ceremony in 2019, and assured the next host would opt for eco-friendly alternatives, such as beating drums and ringing bells, as suggested by zero waste advocacy group EcoWaste Coalition. – Rappler.com
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