By Cherry de Belen and Bb. Joyce Cabral
MANILA, Philippines-The left-wing fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya)on Tuesday said they were shocked and disappointed with Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential candidate Sen. Mar Roxas for questioning his closest rival- Nacionalista Party (NP) Vice presidential candidate Sen. Loren Legarda for prioritizing environmental issues such as climate change and El Nino as election campaign.
“Senator Mar Roxas is a major disappointment. He failed millions of farmers and fisherfolk with his avant-garde display of mediocrity, wholesale ignorance and political arrogance on environmental issues like El Nino and climate change,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.
“For the information of Senator Roxas, climate change , El Nino and the scores of environmental issues besetting the country today are issues that are matters of life and death to millions of food producing people across-the-archipelago. Why is he is taking for granted issues pertaining to climate change, El Nino and the environment? This is mind-boggling and totally outrageous,” he added.
Yesterday, Sen. Legarda told reporters that she is willing to educate Sen. Roxas on climate change, after the LP vice-presidential bet apparently belittled her environmental advocacy during the ABS-CBN “Harapan” vice presidential debate.
At last Sunday’s debate held at La Consolacion College in Manila, the LP vice-presidential candidate questioned Legarda’s priorities in making the environment her campaign advocacy, noting that the Philippines accounted for less than 1 percent of the Carbon dioxide (CO2) emission that is chiefly blamed for global warming.
But Legarda argued that climate change was a gut issue, as the Philippines was one of 10 countries considered most vulnerable to disasters related to climate change.
Pamalakaya’s Hicap said Roxas’ “earth shaking statement” dismissing the people’s issues and advocacy on climate change and El Nino will mean voluminous reduction of electoral support for the LP Vice-Presidential candidate.
“Sen.Roxas has wittingly or unwittingly attacked environmental and climate change advocacy in this country and this would compel the green advocates and the grassroots voters to think over a thousand times to think if he deserves their votes come May 10, 2010 elections. On the part of the 100,000 strong Pamalakaya, he is no longer in contention in the VP race courtesy of his blasphemous anti-environment and anti-fisherfolk view. Rejection becomes Mr Roxas,” Hicap said.
Pamalakaya expressed doubt Sen. Roxas will accept the offer of Sen.Legarda to get a crash course on climate change and El Nino.
“Mr. Palengke’s humble crusade and humility are only good for election ad and for image building. The LP vice-presidential wannabe is the candidate of big business groups and Roxas’ business clients hate genuine advocacy against climate change, global warming, environmental disaster and El Nino,” the group said. #