By Edu Punay | The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential frontrunner Ferdinand ‘Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has vowed to ensure protection and preservation of the country’s environment and natural resources while pursuing economic development goals if he wins in the May 9 election.
Marcos cited the need to institute policy reforms and programs to create a peaceful balance between economic development and the environment.
“Nature has its rights that should be protected. It should be allowed to flourish, reproduce and attain its abundance side by side with human civilization and in perfect balance and harmony with our growing communities,” the former senator said in an interview.
“We should do this if we want to safeguard the most vulnerable members of our society from the onslaught of natural calamities,” he stressed.
Marcos pointed out that the country is blessed with abundant natural resources such as minerals, forest and agricultural lands, water, fisheries and other natural resources that should be preserved for future generations.
“The Philippines is even recognized as one of the leading producers of nickel in the world, which is widely in demand abroad,” Marcos said, adding that the nation should maximize resources to hasten the recovery of the economy badly hit by the pandemic and natural disasters.
Marcos laid down his environmental platform just as scientists in the United States held a protest to call for stronger actions from governments on global warming and climate change and warned of irreversible catastrophic consequences.
Among the programs that Marcos committed to prioritize are reforestation, stricter anti-illegal logging law and creation of industrial forest plantations to supply market demand for wood.
In mining, Marcos said his administration would implement a collaborative relationship with all stakeholders to make sure that it will not be abused.
He also vowed to focus on solid waste management, including “waste to energy programs” to generate income.
He added he would pursue the proposed creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience that will look to the US Federal Emergency Management Agency as an effective model of disaster resilience that integrates many other agencies.
He said he is also planning to create the Department of Water and Resources Management to make sure that clean and potable water is available to every Filipino.
At the same time, Marcos said he is planning to create an ecology-based disaster risk reduction program that should be addressed from the point of view of environmental degradation, especially on forests, wetlands, coastal and marine and drylands.