ENVIRONMENTAL groups on Monday judged independent presidential candidate Nicanor “Nick” Perlas as having the best platform on clean water.

Lakas-Kampi-CMD bet Gilbert Teodoro and former President Joseph Estrada of Pwersa Ng Masang Pilipino automatically got zero rating for failing to participate in the survey.

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Greenpeace Southeast Asia toxic campaigner Beau Baconguis said that Perlas had “the most comprehensive, clear and with integrity” platform.

Senators Jamby Madrigal (independent) and Richard Gordon (Bagumbayan) closely followed Perlas, respectively.

With pails in tow, environmental activists showed the rating of the presidential bets by the size of the pails with their names written on it.

Perlas received the “greenest” mark and the biggest pail with 8.7 points, Madrigal, 7.8, Gordon 7.2.

Coming at a far fourth is Bro. Eddie Villanueva (Bangon Pilipinas) with 4.8 points. In fifth place are frontrunners Senator Noynoy Aquino (Liberal Party) and Senator Manny Villar (Nacionalista Party) both with 3.6 points while JC dela Cruz (Ang Kapatiran) got 2.7 points.

Perlas, Madrigal, and Gordon all supported the zero discharge of chemicals advocated by Greenpeace Southeast Asia and Ecowaste Coalition.

“Perlas cites the urgency of having a comprehensive land use plan that will delineate watershed areas and sees the need to apply the polluter pays principle. Jamby plans to enforce a system for managing our water beyond setting effluent standards. Richard plans to implement the rainwater collection law and the provision of incentives for individuals to integrate rainwater storage into their homes,” said Ecowaste Coalition head Manny Calonzo.

On the other hand, Baconguis said the rest of the candidates pushed for enforcement of laws rather than create progressive laws on clean water management, making their rating lower than the three.

“This lack of imagination and focus on enforcement alone will not give the Filipino people clean water. We need front end solutions like better watershed management, as well as a shift from dirty production to Zero Discharge and Clean Production in order to stop pollution at source,” Baconguis said.

Water resource issue became an urgent concern lately because of the El Niño phenomenon that has been causing dwindling water levels, affecting production and energy.

Ecowaste Coalition and Greenpeace sent survey questions detailing their specific programs on clean water management and their stand on the zero discharge of chemicals.

The candidates were asked two water-related questions: (1) "If elected President, what specific steps will you take to ensure the availability of clean water sources in the country? (2) Are you for or against amending the Clean Water Act to incorporate and institutionalize a framework of Zero Discharge of hazardous chemicals from factories and domestic sources?

The clean water survey is the first in the series of the Ecowaste Coalition's Green Electoral Initiative that is set to release more surveys on solid waste management and climate change in the upcoming days.

The final "green" ranking will be released in time for the Earth Day in April. (Angela Casauay/Sunnex)