PNoy failing on the environmental front : Greenpeace

Group issues assessment of Aquino government’s environmental performance on Earth Day

Press release - April 22, 2012
As the world observes this year’s annual Earth Day celebration, Greenpeace lamented the failing performance of the Aquino administration on the environmental front, citing the last two years under President Aquino’s leadership as a period marked by lackadaisical enforcement of environmental laws and a troubling presidential pattern of reneging on previous commitments to advance green goals.

The group came up with this assessment after reviewing the administration’s current  track record on environmental issues  vis a vis the declarations made by then Senator Noynoy Aquino in the Green Electoral Initiative (GEI) survey which Greenpeace had conducted with the EcoWaste Coalition to determine the environmental platforms of presidential candidates on the lead up  to the 2010 presidential elections.

The GEI survey posed questions on a range of issues that covered climate change and energy, solid waste, chemical pollution and consumer safety, forests, nuclear power, and mining.

“So far, the government’s environmental performance under President Aquino remains unimpressive. While we laud the President’s efforts to seriously curb corruption in public service, which itself has a positive impact on environmental governance,  such gains are being eroded by the lax enforcement of existing policies  such as  the Clean air Act and the Renewable Energy law. Moreover, instad of pushing for the massive uptake of renewable energy as he promised, he is exacerbating the country’s dependence on expensive and polluting fossil fuels. His administration’s aggressive pro-coal agenda for Mindanao at the expense of clean, renewable alternatives is the biggest disappointment,” said Von Hernandez, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

“At best, we can describe PNoy’s environmental performance as middling, which only goes to show that the environment is not a priority under his government.  In the two years that have passed, the President’s commitments have either remained in the realm of rhetoric, or have been undermined by contradicting policies or actions of the national government,” he added.

Greenpeace cites the issue of sustainable agriculture where Aquino had pledged to provide incentives to enourage the shift to sustainable agriculture practices, such as organic farming and the establishment of national targets to reduce the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.  Yet chipping away at this sustainable agriculture agenda is the Bureau of Plant Industry’s loose and cavalier policy allowing the introduction and commericlaization of genetically modified crops into the country.

In the area of solid waste management, the Aquino administration has yet to make significant inroads to expand the number of local governments and barangays faithfully implementing the mandatory waste segregation and materials recovery objectives of the Ecological Waste Management Act.  The EcoWaste Coalition estimates that of the more than 40,000 barangays nationwide, less than 10% are implementing the law.

As for the RE law, Aquino’s Department of Energy has effectively stranded its full implementation by allowing discussions on the feed-in-tariff (FIT) rates for renewable energy to drag on, while permits were being given to coal power plant proposals.  

Lamentably, Aquino has also subverted his winning policy for the environment, which was his issuance of Executive Order (EO) 23, the “Total Log Ban”, by exempting mining projects from the ban’s coverage.

Aquino’s lax stance on coal power, GMOs and mining  have put him at odds with environmentalists  and sustainable development advocates who had hoped to see major shifts in enevironmental performance and management in his term of office.

“President Aquino still has four years in office.  What does he want to leave behind as his legacy?  We challenge his government to move away from the dirty development path and move towards a green development pathway where the health, livelihoods and well-being of the people are not sacrificed for myopic economic interests,” Hernandez concluded.

The full results of the GEI Survey is available at http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/ph/PageFiles/102477/gei-matrix.pdf

 
Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organization that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment, and to promote peace.     


Contacts:

  • Von Hernandez, Executive Director, +639175263050, (632) 3321807 loc 118, 
  • JP Agcaoili, Media Campaigner, , (632) 3321807 loc 109,