Party List AWAKE to push for Clean, Safe Water and Environment

A local people’s organization here is taking the cudgels in an advocacy for sufficient and clean water supply and care for the environment as it moves for a representation in Congress.

Edgar “Guy” Lopez, founder and president of Awareness of Keepers of the Environment (AWAKE), said that this will be the first time that such joint advocacy espoused by a singe organization will be represented in Congress should their group secure a seat at the House of Representatives.

“While there are now some Senators and Congressmen who are known to be environmentalists, there is no single representative (group) that advocates both for water and environment at the same time,” Lopez said during Balitaan, a weekly media forum by Capampangan in Media, Inc. and the Clark Development Corp.

“Some friends in water districts (in the country) share the same call for a representation in Congress where issues related to water supply could be addressed directly by their chosen representative,” he added.

Lopez once served as President of Philippine Water Works Association (PWWA) and the Water and Environment Association of Philippines (WEAP), Chairman of the Angeles City Water District (ACWD). He was also a former National Premier of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity.

He added that the biggest challenge now is the lack of treatment facilities for wastewater all over the country.

“Not even of percent of the local governments and water districts have this facility as mandated by law. Waste treatment facilities must be put in place,” he said.

He said that the current practice of putting up septic tanks and backyard disposal pose a threat to the environment as harmful elements from domestic and residential wastes seep through the water table.

Awake Agenda
Lopez, designated as first nominee of AWAKE, has listed the following in their agenda:

1. Enhancing the country’s international reputation as a leader in low carbon emission and improving its ranking in the exploration and development of sustainable and renewable energy resources as hydroelectric, geothermal, solar, wind and even wave power.

2. Strengthening the implementation and enforcement of the country’s firmly-established/instituted environmental laws particularly those dealing with air, water and land pollution, the disposal of solid as well as liquid waste especially chemical, biological and toxic wastes and the protection of our natural resources.

3. Updating, modernizing, Improving and reinforcing existing laws and legislations especially those that were already in effect since the 80s and earlier to make them a tuned to the current times and situations and enable the employment of modern technologies and concepts in their implementation, enforcement and monitoring.

4. Promoting integrated sustainable development in the area of potable water supply, energy generation and food production which share a nexus or common connection as to source, allocation and utilization and a shared responsibility in the protection of the environment in the proper treatment and disposal of wastewater prior to its return to nature.

5. Promoting safe, responsible and socially equitable mining.

6. Promoting waste to energy conversion program as has been successfully implemented in both developed and developing countries like South Korea which uses clean and safe waste incineration in the process and India and Pakistan which converts sewage to biogas on massive scale.

7. Promoting massive and sustained nationwide tree planting from barangay, city/municipal up to provincial/regional levels to rehabilitate and maintain our vital life-supporting watershed and forest areas and as a measure against global warming and climate change as well as natural disasters. Trees capture carbon and are effective in holding rainwater in high areas helping in reducing carbon emission and preventing flooding in the low land.

8. Promoting total or selective logging ban.

9. Controlling and mitigating floods.

10. Rehabilitating deteriorated or deteriorating major bodies of water as the Manila Bay and Laguna Lake. The Supreme Court has an outstanding mandamus to clean and rehabilitate the Manila Bay addressed to all government agencies and instrumentalities supposedly concerned with pollution control and the proper disposal of sewage and wastewater into the rivers and waterways draining into the Bay.

11. Promoting rain harvesting to help not only in flood control but also in buttressing potable water supply especially in dry months and possibly in energy generation through major and mini hydro power projects utilizing the super abundant surface water run-offs during the rainy season.

12. Promoting local ingenuity and creativity in helping address the need for cheaper, renewable alternative sources of energy utilizing local, indigenous materials but employing both high and low technology.

13. Promoting the consumers rights to healthy environment and protection from imminently or potentially dangerous and toxic so-called consumer products, including genetically modified crops.

14. Promoting sustainable access of the people including the poor in the countryside, to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities.

15. Promoting the development of more green buildings and infrastructures.

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