Do we see a greener Philippines under the Noynoy administration?

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Here are excerpts from a Philippine Daily Inquirer article by Ma. Ceres P Doyo:

Aquino answered all except Part X (“Your environmental track record”). Here are some questions and answers:

Q. Your first environmental act during your first 100 days in office.

A. Certify as urgent for the legislature to enact a law, as mandated by the Constitution, to delineate once and for all forest lines in the country, as a clear basis for the crafting of a comprehensive national land use policy, as well as for the definition of watersheds and fragile ecosystems.

Q. Qualities of your environment secretary.

A. … must be at heart an environmental advocate, trained and experienced in the technical, educational, legislative/policy aspects of environmental work. He/she must be given to reasoned debate and judgment more than just polemical argument… must be passionate about the environment but open to listen to as many, if often conflicting interests and schools of thought —and in the end be unswervingly clear in the positions and principles of conservation, ecological balance and sustainable development.

Q. …steps to address climate change vulnerabilities.

A. I will require local governments and the private sector to draw up detailed local and community-based action frameworks for adaptation with a clear emphasis not just on rescue, recovery and rehabilitation but on research, risk-management and restoration (with a greener re-planning and effective health care responses) of damaged communities over a longer term.

Q. Are you for or against the establishment of big hydro-electric dams… why?

A. I am for the maintenance of the existing dams, without pushing for more large-scale projects, and push for massive large-scale watershed protection and reforestation in areas where dams already operate.

Q. … what action will you take to ensure the aggressive promotion and mainstreaming of ecological (sustainable/organic) agriculture practices?

A. Provide incentive mechanisms for farmers to shift to more ecological agricultural practices and farming technologies.

Q. What steps will you take to stop illegal logging and curb the corruption that makes it possible for illegal loggers to circumvent the law?

A. What Gov. Grace Padaca of Isabela has done to curb illegal logging in the Sierra Madre we will do for the rest of the country: engage the police and military authorities, local communities and local government agencies in a sustained, vigorous campaign to seize illegally cut logs and prevent further clearing of primary forests.

Q. Are you for or against the re-commissioning of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant? Why?

A. Against. The BNPP has long symbolized the excesses of the Marcos regime and the failure of a national energy policy. The BNPP also sits on a high-risk earthquake fault.

Q. What measures will you initiate to ensure that mining companies are truly made accountable for the acute and long-term impacts of their operations on the environment and violation of IP and community rights? Will you continue the current policy of aggressively promoting large-scale mining in the Philippines…

A. We will conduct a full review of all mining operations and exploration permits in the country, and require honest-to-goodness environmental impact studies. Failed mining projects in the past and large-scale disasters like Marinduque, Rapu-rapu and Diwalwal have to be revisited so that there may be proper rehabilitation and compensation for individuals and communities victimized by these mining disasters. While responding to the challenges of making the mining industry more responsible and environment-sensitive, we will ensure that such activities will be equitable and not damaging to local communities and the cultural integrity of many indigenous tribes and their ancestral domain.

[The presidential aspirants’ answers to the 2010 Green Electoral Initiative questionnaire released by Greenpeace and EcoWaste Coalition]

A reminder to election candidates

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Time to cleanup the streets!