QUEZON CITY, 5 February 2016— Today, a coalition made up of over 40 national and local organizations launched the Green Thumb Coalition and challenged 2016 presidential candidates to put socio-environmental issues at the heart of their electoral platforms.

The coalition, made up primarily of environmental groups and frontline communities (1) and with the combined support of 10 million, came together to raise awareness on naturally interrelated environmental issues that are connected to social matters like poverty and corruption. The coalition aims to get the commitment  of national and local candidates to embrace a green agenda, and hold newly elected public officials accountable on their positions and commitments to their environmental mandates.

With the 2016 elections coming up, the Green Thumb Coalition will engage with political aspirants and the voting public by raising the debate on nine (9) key environmental issues at the national level. These include: 1) biodiversity and ecosystem integrity; 2) natural resource and land use management and governance; 3) human rights and integrity of creation; 4) climate justice; 5) mining, extractives and mineral resource management; 6) energy transformation and democracy; 7) sustainable food sovereignty; 8) people-centered sustainable development; and 9) waste.

ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc. Chairman Gina Lopez, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director  Naderev “Yeb” Saño, Alyansa Tigil Mina Head Jaybee Garganera, Convenor for the Center for Energy, Ecology and Development (CEED) Gerry Arances, SANLAKAS Representative Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, SANLAKAS  presented the coalition’s plan of action which was inspired by the member coalition’s previous campaigns on issues such as climate change, waste management, working for indigenous people’s rights.

Also present during the Green Thumb Coalition launch was popular actor and environment advocate Enchong Dee who will be enjoining the youth and the “millennials” to actively participate in the discussion of issues posed by the Coalition.

The Green Thumb Coalition will soon hold a series of forums nationwide leading up to the May elections to raise awareness among the voting public to choose the right leaders who will champion the environment and share plans for a greener economy. The Coalition is scheduled to be in the provinces of Batangas, Palawan, Zambales, Sorsogon, Mindoro, Tuguegarao, Antique, Iloilo, Guimaras, Samar, Leyte, Cebu, SOCSARGEN, Davao, Zamboanga and CARAGA to formally introduce the group’s green electoral campaign to the local communities.

Notes to the Editor:

[1] The Green Thumb Coalition is composed of:

ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc. (ALKFI), Aksyon Klima, Alternative Law Groups (ALG), AlyansaTigil Mina (ATM), AMEN, Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP-JPIC), Bantay Kalikasan Foundation (BK), Bantay Kita, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Bulig Visayas, CBCP-NASSA, Center for Energy, Ecology and Development (CEED), Climate Reality, Dakila, Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement (ECOJIM),  Ecowaste Coalition, FOCUS, Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE), Foundation for a Sustainable Society Inc. (FSSI), Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), Global Anti Incinerator Alliance (GAIA), Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM), Green Convergence, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Haribon, Oceana, PADER, Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), Philippine Rural Recontruction Movement (PRRM), Prelate of Infanta Community, Pugad Lawin Pilipinas Inc. (PLPI), Purple Action for Women’s Rights (Lilak), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), SANLAKAS, Save Sierra Madre, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Youth for Rights (Y4R) and 350.org

Quotes by Green Thumb Coalition representatives

“Elections are not just about personalities and politicians, but is an opportunity to enjoin people to act collectively on important issues like the environment and the climate,” said Gina Lopez of Bantay Kalikasan. “We aim to raise the discourse on the environment among the national consciousness during and after the election period.”

“The Green Thumb Coalition will hold green sorties in 15 provinces nationwide to foster discourse around environmental and climate agenda, and to challenge candidates to support the campaign,” said Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) Energy Working Group Head and SANLAKAS Secretary-General, Atty. Aaron Pedrosa. “When communities, homes and lives are on the line in the context of climate change, leaders ought to take heed. Now is the time for them to make a stand – for our survival and our future.”

“Protecting the environment directly translates to social and economic benefits for the nation as a whole, for communities, and for each Filipino, now and for many generations,” said Yeb Saño, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.  “With the country’s agricultural sector now facing further threats from climate change to GMO invasion, we call upon all Presidential candidates to support legislation and policies that would make ecological agriculture practices mandatory to protect small farmer’s interests, our biodiversity, the environment and ensure safe food for Filipinos.”

“Given that the past administration has for granted the 200, 000 MW worth of potential renewable energy in the Philippines by pursuing a coal-dependent dirty energy path, we must reiterate our support for a more sustainable, people-centered, renewable energy for all, especially with the elections coming our way,” said Gerry Arances, Convenor for the Center for Energy, Ecology and Development (CEED).

“We must not let the proliferation of large-scale, environmentally-destructive mining which terrorizes local vulnerable communities’ safety, health and livelihood carry over to the next administration,” said Jaybee Garganera, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) National Coordinator, citing the upsurge of approved mining permits during the Aquino government.

“The 2106 national elections is an opportunity to revive and reflect on our care for our common home, which includes standing up for the integrity of creation and the rights of our brothers and sisters of all faiths, which are endangered in the context of profit-oriented environmental policies,” said Bro. Angel Andig Cortez, OFM, the NCR Coordinator of Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement (ECOJIM).

“Among the most important decisions on how resources are managed depend on local governments,” said Bantay Kita National Coordinator Dr. Cielo Magno. “We need officials who are not beholden to entities which have corporate interests in making sure that the destruction of the environment and the loss of livelihood among communities continue.”

“The journey to sustainable development and preservation of the environment must not be left in the hands of a few,” said Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) President Isagani Serrano. “Through these elections, we have an opportunity to determine the environmental path our country will take in the next six years.”

“This electoral challenge does not only concern us, but future generations who may not have the opportunity to enjoy and experience the beauty of nature and biodiversity,” Maria Belinda dela Paz, chief operating officer of HARIBON Foundation said. “It is important that we consider preserving the wonders of nature and biodiversity in our vote.”

Please contact:

Ana Terrese M. Junio, ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc.
Mobile: 09175624583 / 09373780009 / amjunio@abs-cbnfoundation.com

Diah Abida, Greenpeace Southeast Asia
Mobile: 0917-8686451 / diah.abida@greenpeace.org

Khevin Yu, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice
Mobile: 09175213356 / khevinyu@gmail.com