SORSOGON CITY, 06-May-2013 (PNA)-– Local enforcers may be rendered toothless by candidates nailing campaign posters on trees, but home-grown environmentalists have vowed to go after these violators by refusing to vote for them.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has repeatedly aired warnings against this practice that constitutes a violation of the Fair Election Act.
Using trees along roads and highways and in almost all public places to display campaign materials has been a common practice among politicians and their supporters and it is high time now that it should be stopped, being not good for any living tree, according to DENR regional executive director Gilbert Gonzales.
Philip Bartilet, the head of the Sorsogon Aggrupation of Advocates for Environmental Protection (AGAP), said “since the DENR and all other law enforcement agencies are helpless against the bad practice, we will take the cudgel of delivering the consequences to these stubborn candidates: no vote for them.”
He said no action so far has been undertaken by the DENR, Commission on Elections (Comelec), police and local government units remove campaign materials fastened on trees.
Many more, like giant tarpaulin, cloth and paper posters are displayed outside designated poster areas, serving as eyesores and ending as garbage materials later.
Lawyer Calixto Aquino Jr, the Comelec provincial election supervisor, said his office has been consistently issuing reminders to candidates against displaying their campaign materials at unauthorized areas.
Rene Camacho, the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) chief, said his office has been spearheading “Operation Baklas” that regularly conducts operations against campaign posters on trees along the national highway in the province.
Despite these DENR and Comelec efforts, however, the same materials remain in place and Bartilet said “all we can do now–and perhaps all Sorsogueños who are concerned about the environment and good government–is reject these candidates.”
“All members of AGAP and its attached organizations province-wide have vowed not to vote for these candidates. We are also continuously convincing all voters that we could reach before the May 13 elections to join us in our crusade,” Bartilet said.
He assured that AGAP, a 3,000-strong organization, could muster a considerable number of voters into its cause in the province.
“We do not want candidates who are not concerned about the environment and who violate election rules to win. They can never be good public servants with this kind of attitudes,” Bartilet added. (PNA)