June 15, 2024

The Insider News

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BAN Toxics says: NO to EPAL, YES to ‘ENVI PAL’ – Kaibigan ng Kalikasan for BSKE 2023

AS the campaign period for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections commences, environmental group BAN Toxics urged aspiring candidates to strictly follow the Comelec guidelines on election campaigning that includes election propaganda, campaign materials, common posting areas, and guidelines for campaigning on social media and the internet. 

“We call on candidates not to be an “EPAL” but rather an “Environment PAL” or ‘Kaibigan ng Kalikasan’, who will advocate for and prioritize environmental issues at the Barangay level,” said Rey San Juan, executive director of BAN toxics.

The group emphasized COMELEC Resolution No. 10294 s. 2018, which encourages candidates to use recyclable and eco-friendly materials while avoiding those containing hazardous chemicals and substances in producing their campaign and election propaganda.”

“Candidates are also required to include the phrase: “This material should be recycled” in their campaign materials. In local government units where local legislation regulating the use of plastic and other similar materials exist, candidates must comply with these regulations.

The use of plastic and PVC campaign materials, and other prohibited campaign propaganda during election period, contributes to increased waste generation, which may lead to waste disposal issues in the community.

“Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan candidates should be an advocate for environmental protection and preservation, “Environment PALS” not just during election fever, but in the genuine implementation of programs and services once elected,” San Juan added. 

According to the Local Government Code, the Barangay, as the basic political unit, serves as the primary planning and implementing unit of government policies, plans, programs, projects, and activities in the community. One of its essential functions is environmental management, which encompasses:

1.̼ Leading the Barangay Ecological Solid Waste Management Committee (BESWMC), and developing a community solid waste management program.

2. Ensuring the proper segregation and collection of solid waste, especially biodegradable, compostable and reusable materials.

3. Establishing a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), a redemption or eco center for segregation, composting and recycling in an efficient and environmentally sound manner.

4. Allocating barangay funds for the barangay ecological solid waste management program.

5. Promoting and implementing Zero Waste Management.

6. Supporting the National Greening Program (NGP).

The group further reminded the candidates not to post campaign materials on trees, in accordance with Republic Act 3571, which prohibits the cutting, destroying or injuring of planted or growing trees, flowering plants, and shrubs or plants of scenic value along public roads, in plazas, parks, school premises or in any other public pleasure ground. 

“We encourage all candidates “win or lose” to conduct post election clean-ups, properly collected and segregated – not “hakot-tambak” to minimize trash, and promote a clean, peaceful, toxic-free, and waste-free election,” the group lamented.    

BAN Toxics is an environmental organization that works for the advancement of environmental justice, health, and sustainable development in the area of chemicals and wastes, with a special focus on women, children, and other marginalized sectors.