Greenpeace activists arrested during “sleep in" at Gibo’s campaign headquarters

Feature story - May 6, 2010
Seven Greenpeace activists have been arrested following an action this morning in which they “slept in” at the campaign headquarters of presidential candidate Gilbert Teodoro. The action began before ten in the morning today. Police began the arrests inside Teodoro’s headquarters before noon.

A Greenpeace activist wearing a face mask of presidential aspirant Gilbert Teodoro sleeps on a mat depicting a drought parched soil at Teodoro’s campaign headquarters in Mandaluyong City. Seven Greenpeace activists were arrested at the campaign headquarters of Gilbert Teodoro following the action and were released without charges after two hours.

The group were among Greenpeace volunteers who this morning visited the campaign headquarters of Teodoro, as well as of Noynoy Aquino, which are both located along EDSA, in Mandaluyong City, to call on both candidates to commit to water protection measures during the first hundred days should either of them be elected into office.

"The response to our action this morning by Gibo Teodoro's camp is unwarranted and extreme. We hope that this is not a preview to how his administration will deal with peaceful  protest--especially over legitimate and urgent public concerns," said Francis dela Cruz, Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigner.

"The next president of the Philippines simply cannot ignore the issue of climate change while our country suffers from its growing impacts year after year. Both Gilbert Teodoro and Noynoy Aquino are among those who have yet to take a clear stand on this issue and outline clear steps on how they plan to steer the country from more disasters. Greenpeace is asking for their commitment to securing the future of the Filipino people. Today's action took this message directly to their campaign headquarters," he added.

Activists who participated in the action this morning wore masks of the presidentiables and "slept" on cushions placed upon mats depicting the cracked soil of agricultural lands dried up by El Niño. The group of volunteers who visited Noynoy Aquino's headquarters are still in the said office negotiating to get Aquino's commitments.

Since March, Greenpeace has been calling on presidential candidates to commit to climate change adaptation measures, culminating with the Water Watch project which was launched in April 12 in Angat Dam.

On April 24, Greenpeace had delivered the letters to respective campaign headquarters, along with images from drought affected areas around the country.  The letter asked for two specific measures:

1) Prioritize hazards and vulnerability-assessments to identify risks, and implement adaptation measures to prevent or alleviate water shortage in case of drought; or lessen damage to crops, property and infrastructure in the case of too much rain. Greenpeace identified two possible and measurable steps to achieve this:

 

  • Establish at least 25 small community/farmland water impoundments in areas most at risk to drought;

  • Create a special fund for research on non genetically-engineered drought-resistant crops, innovative farming techniques and technologies that minimize water consumption.

 

2) Improve the existing capabilities of monitoring teams to develop efficient forecasting and warning systems for extreme weather events that are critical to protecting lives, property and critical environmental resources. This includes engaging the academe and NGOs to be partners of PAGASA in data-sharing, weather monitoring and forecasting; and directing the MMDA and the DPWH to de-clog Metro Manila storm drains by August 2010.

The drought images were gathered from the Greenpeace Water Watch project that had established a week-long camp at the Angat reservoir from April 12, and the mobile Water Watch station that had expeditions into drought-stricken agricultural communities in North and Central Luzon.

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