Luntian wins over big-time backer

Published March 13, 2019, 8:06 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Ellson Quismorio

The first nominee of pro-environment party-list Luntiang Pilipinas (Luntian) has just gained the backing of Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.

First nominee Michael Ubac confirmed that Sotto, Chairperson of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), had endorsed his group, a movement founded by Senator Loren Legarda to advocate for the protection and preservation of our environment.

“We are grateful for the support of the Senate President, and we hope that the endorsement of a national leader with his stature can help us convince other leaders of the need for champions of the environment in the Legislature,” said Ubac, a UP-trained, multi-awarded journalist whose master’s thesis in Harvard dealt with issues involving climate change and Supertyphoon Yolanda.

The Senate President is the third highest and most powerful official in the Philippine government.

Luntiang Pilipinas is vying for seats in the House of Representatives under the party-list system. Over 120 party-list groups have been accredited by the Commission on Elections.

Ubac explained that Luntiang Pilipinas “is a legitimate green party that has a deep understanding of the environmental issues facing the country, a clear program of action to address these issues, and a track record that shows that we can deliver.”

Established in 1998 as a movement, Luntiang Pilipinas is responsible for planting and growing two million trees in 33 provinces, 28 cities, and 84 municipalities across the country.

The group’s platform is founded on its four pillars: regreening (forest parks and mangrove growing); ecological solid waste management; coastal and marine resource management; and disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

According to Ubac, he expected more political leaders to extend their support for Luntiang Pilipinas, “as more and more of those in elective office––or vying for elective office––recognize the importance of protecting the environment.”

“As we saw in Yolanda and Boracay there are serious consequences when we fail to address environmental issues. Alam na ng mga lider natin na kailangan na itong tugunan, at handa ang Luntiang Pilipinas na manindigan para sa kapakanan ng kapaligiran at para makipaglaban para sa ating kinabukasan.”

Luntian is seeking to be the first “green party” in the House of Representatives.