Press Release
February 3, 2010


DILIMAN, Quezon City, Feb. 3 - Sen. Loren Legarda said here today that environmental protection and enhancement are directly linked to economic development and jobs as she defended her advocacy for a green environment.

Addressing students and professors at a University of the Philippines forum, Loren answered "yes" to the forum question, "Mga Kandidato ng Kalikasan, May Boboto Ba?" (Will there be votes for candidates on a green platform?)

Loren, who is a firm advocate for environmental advancement is a vice presidential candidate of Nationalist People's Coalition Party and Nacionalista Party.

In her speech, Loren pointed out that environmental protection is necessary to improve agricultural and industrial production and reduce human casualties and property damage in cases of natural calamities, like typhoons and earthquakes.

A green program would provide "jobs for everyone," Loren said. "And those jobs should include green jobs and livelihoods from clean energy, climate and environmental protection initiatives."

A UN champion for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in Asia-Pacific, Loren has vigorously pushed for the adoption of policies and programs to combat global warming, such as the El Niño phenomenon that causes drought and reduce harvests, and also causes extraordinary strong typhoons like Ondong.

"Also included in my agenda is sustainable forest management. This involves intensive rehabilitation of degraded forests and denuded lands; industrial forest plantation development; conservation of biodiversity and remaining natural forests; livelihood support for small farmers living within and around protected areas; and upland community development," Loren declared.

"Foremost in my pro-environment agenda is the climate crisis. We must prepare and protect our communities against disasters, turbocharged byclimate change, by building their resilience to substantially reduce disaster losses, whether in lives or properties.

"We need to mainstream climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in local government units through capacity building and development of best practices. Climate change must likewise be integrated in school curricula.

"There should also be strengthened enforcement of environmental laws and regulations such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and Climate Change Act," Loren stressed. As senator, she has actively participated in the enactment of these environmental law as author or co-author. As chair of the Senate committee on climate change, she sponsored the recently-enacted Climate Change Act.

In 1999, five million Filipinos petitioned the Philippine government to pass Republic Act 8749, the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999, Loren said. The landmark legislation established ambient air quality guidelines and emissions standards, banned smoking in public buildings, and mandated that all motor vehicles undergo emissions testing at least once a year.

The Ecological Waste Management Act improved solid waste management and resource conservation, while the Clean Water Act of 2004 aims to protect the country's water bodies from pollution.

"Climate change and disaster risks makes compelling the robust adaptation strategies in the agriculture and fisheries sector. This shall include more investments in agricultural research and infrastructure, improved water governance and land use policies, better forecasting tools and early warning systems, a strengthened extension system that will assist farmers to achieve economic diversification and access to credit.

"Finally, in energy, there are many renewable, clean and environment-friendly sources around us. We can pursue industries, manufacturing, and business without sacrificing clean air, drinkable water and healthy food. It is time to mobilize green power programs through the establishment of solar, wind and other renewable energy facilities and green urban mass transport system."

"You ask me whether there is a green vote in the Philippines ... I look at the faces of these people who aspire for change and I say yes! There is a green vote in the Philippines. The youth is the green vote. The youth will bring about the change we want to see, "Loren declared.

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