Philippine groups press for pro-environment candidates in 2022 elections

October 28, 2021

Faith-based and pro-environment groups on October 28 announced that they will support and campaign for pro-people and pro-environment candidates in the 2022 elections. 

In a press briefing, the groups said they will “actively push” for the election of politicians who are “allies and champions of green bills.” 

The groups also said that they will expose “corporate donors from the extractives industry who are funding candidates for electoral positions.”

Jaybee Garganera of Alyansa Tigil Mina said that politicians funded by mining companies “are already compromised,” adding that these candidates will certainly repay their political debt” if they win the elections. 

He said these politicians, who receive “dirty donations,” will advance the agenda of large-scale mining “at the expense of the public they are sworn to serve.”

Garganera said that the groups also “actively dissuade the public from voting in politicians who have had vested interests in the extractives industry,” including presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. 

“The Marcoses were co-owners of Marcopper Mining Corporation, which is accountable for the mining disaster in Marinduque,” he said. 

“We remember and will never forget the destructive legacy of the Marcoses. We won’t allow them to further entrench themselves in power and enrich themselves,” he added.

Elizabeth Ibanez of Bayay Sibuyanon of Sibuyan Island Romblon said that the present administration “should likewise not be allowed to remain in power.” 

She described the regime of President Rodigo Duterte as “traitors who backtracked on their anti-destructive mining stance and now indiscriminately allows mining operations again.”

“Our very lives and future are at stake and we must change our current leaders for us to have a chance at a better life,” she said. 

Bishop Colin Bagaforo, national director of Caritas Philippines, reminded the public of the struggles of the Indigenous People and the communities living in mining areas.

“We have seen our fair share of destruction of lives and ecosystems in Marinduque, in Rapu-rapu, in Simirara and in Surigao,” he said. 

“Are these not enough for us to finally say No to Mining in the Philippines? When will we ever learn from the mistakes of our past? We only have one common home. Let us preserve it while we still can,” said the prelate.

Jing Rey Henderson of the social action network encouraged the public to actively engage in the 2022 elections and call for critical changes in government and people’s lives. 

“Let us  awaken and enliven our love for the country. Let us unite in order to achieve our collective ambition for a brighter and better future for all, especially the poor and marginalized,” she said. 

Jhay de Jesus of In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) said the country experienced six years of killings and gross human rights violations under the Duterte administration.

He said the country has endured six years of” devastation of civic spaces and democratic freedoms,” adding that it is “high time that we put an end to this murderous regime.” 

“It is crucial that we elect leaders with proven track records and a solid platform that promotes justice, accountability and human dignity for all,” he said.

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