Sorsogon Governor Framcis “Chiz” Escudero ranked among the 12 senatorial aspirants found to be the “greenest” by Luntiang Bayan, an alliance of pro-environment groups that assessed the electoral platforms and performance of the over 60 bets for the Senate.
Escudero, a former senator and chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, received from Luntiang Bayan a grade of 57–good for the 6th environment-friendly candidate.“The 2022 Philippine elections coincides with the most critical time of the global environment. Scientists warn that we have as little as 4 to 5 years to start making the change towards a sustainable society or face irreversible impacts,” Luntiang Bayan said in its Facebook post.
“We need leaders who have the political will to steer the country away from the current environmentally destructive policies to one that will conserve and rehabilitate the environment for the survival of Filipinos,” added group, whose convenors have been tracking the environmental performance of candidates in national elections since 2010.
Escudero welcomed the inclusion and vowed to push for legislation that will reduce the Philippines’ vulnerability to the impact of climate change and ensure social protection alongside disaster prevention and response.
“Patong-patong ang problemang kinakaharap hindi lamang ng ating bansa ngunit ng buong mundo. Naniniwala ako na ang ating pagbangon at pagsulong mula sa pandemya ay hindi magiging posible kung ating kakalimutan ang kapaligiran, lalo na’t isa tayo sa pinaka-at-risk sa impact ng climate change (The are a lot of confronting not just the country but the entire world. I believe that our recovery from the pandemic won’t be possible if we disregard the environment, especially since we are among the countries most at-risk from the impact of climate change,” Escudero said.
Luntiang Bayan examined credible online sources such as candidates’ websites, speeches and other public pronouncements, the libraries of Congress and the Senate, and media reports to determine a candidate’s commitment to the environment.
Their findings, the group said, were then measured against its eight-point environment agenda: animal welfare and wildlife protection, biodiversity and ecosystems protection, adaptation to climate change/disaster preparedness and mitigation, food security, sustainable development, solid waste management, environmental justice, and pandemic response.
“Luntiang Bayan is not endorsing any candidate. This study can be used by voters as a guide to voting for public servants who will heed the call of the people to protect the environment. We enjoin the electorate in voting on the basis of urgent national issues and not personalities,” Luntiang Bayan clarified.
As chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources in the 16th Congress (2016), Escudero was named “Clean Air Champion” by the Coalition of Clean Air Advocates Philippines that also endorsed his candidacy for vice president in 2016.
The convenors include Earth Island Institute Philippines, Nilad, Miriam College Environmental Studies Institute, Philippine Animal Welfare Society, Save Philippine Seas, Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, Ecowaste Coalition, Save Freedom Island Movement, Pull OutCOALition, Save Laguna Lake Movement, Piglas, UP Green League, Miriam Environmental Planning Organization, and UP Minggan.