MANILA, Philippines – On the first day of the filing of candidacies for 2016 elections, a group urged politicians to stay away from “trashy” campaigning.
The EcoWaste Coalition picketed at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) headquarters in Intramuros, Manila on Monday, October 12, to ask the body to require that candidates have “ecologically-responsible campaign activities that meet the minimum requirements of the country’s electoral, health, and environmental laws.”
In a letter, the group urged Comelec chairman Andres Bautista to re-issue and update two policies for a “green” 2016 polls.
The letter was received by Bautista himself that morning. Bautista told the EcoWaste Coalition that the “Comelec fully supports waste-free elections.”
One of the two “green” policies named by the group is Comelec Resolution No 9615, which encourages parties and candidates to use recyclable and environment-friendly campaign materials.
Another is the Memorandum Circular on “Basura-Free Elections” that calls on parties and candidates to “reduce the amount of generated waste during the campaign, election, and post-election periods.”
This circular was released in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Department of Interior and Local Government for the 2013 elections.
The group brought up proposals it thinks will help Comelec ensure litter-free elections:
- Require all candidates and their parties to sign a Memorandum of Agreement saying they will comply with environmentally-friendly campaign practices, including a mandatory post-campaign clean-up.
- Incorporate environmental responsibility in the Comelec’s public information drive for a clean, order, peaceful, honest and fair elections.
- Regulate campaign motorcades to address traffic congestion and air pollution.
- Ask candidates and their supporters to avoid throwing confetti or releasing firecrackers, balloons, and sky lanterns.
Dirty election period
The campaign season leading up to election day are typically heavy on trash as candidates and their support groups plaster campaign posters on trees, electric posts, and walls; install tarpaulins; throw confetti during sorties; hang streamers and flaglets; and even release firecrackers and balloons.
Other major waste-generating activities include the massive use of polystyrene containers for drinks and meals served to poll watchers and volunteers and the rampant distribution of sample ballots during election day.
Many candidates also fail to immediately remove campaign materials after elections.
The environmental group says it has observed trash-generation of political campaigns in 2007, 2010, and 2013 elections. – Rappler.com
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