MANILA — Former Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat said on Thursday he would focus on crafting environmental laws, including measures that would give indigenous people a voice on biodiversity policies, if he wins a Senate seat in the 2022 elections.
“Karamihan sa mga biodiversity areas ay nasa loob ng indigenous communities... Pagdating sa conservation, magagaling ang mga katutubo,” he said in a forum.
(Most biodiversity areas are inside indigenous communities... When it comes to conservation, indigenous people are good.)
Baguilat also condemned President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision early this year to lift a 9-year ban on granting new mining agreements, saying consultations failed to include indigenous peoples.
“There are a lot of communities who are against mining. Ang importante kung may tumututol... magkakaroon ng consultations," he said.
"Paano ka magkakaroon ng consultations? Sinasabi nilang, ‘Ginagawa naman namin ang consultations online’; ang dami sa mga areas na iyon walang internet,” he said.
(What is important is to have consultations if some disagree. But how will you have consultations? They say consultations were done online, but many of those areas have no internet.)
Duterte in April said the mining industry can usher "significant economic benefits", support various government programs like the infrastructure drive, and generate jobs in the countryside.
During the forum, Baguilat also proposed a “clean and green economy” that will include a gradual shift to wind and solar from the use of coal as energy source, as well as the elimination of single-use plastics.
“Kung mag-shift ka ng (if you shift to) clean energy, it will create jobs,” he said.
Baguilat is running for senator under Vice President Leni Robredo's slate.
Following Sen. Imee Marcos' dubbing of Robredo as an "extraordinary housewife", Baguilat called the Vice President an "outstanding housewife" and a great supporter of her late husband, former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.
“She is a very simple person, walang ere, puwedeng kausapin. Tao lang naman siya, lahat tayo may kakulangan but what I really like about her is she listens,” Baguilat said, adding he planned to campaign with the Vice President.
(She is humble, you can talk to her. She is only human, we all have shortcomings, but what I really like about her is she listens.)
Baguilat also criticized rumored plans of other candidates to substitute on or before the Nov. 15 deadline.
“Niloloko tayo ng ibang politicians, ang taumbayan," he said.
(Other politicians are fooling the people.)
– Report from Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News