Appeal to reduce Senate’s paper consumption*

Senator Cayetano: Dear colleagues, I’d like to commend everyone. There is no plastic bottle on our tables today. Congratulations, I know that’s an effort. We all have the right to drink water, of course, or whatever beverage of choice. But you make an effort because of our collective desire to use less plastic. 

So kung kulang pa yung binigay ko sa inyong bamboo bottle, hingi kayo kay Ralph sa next batch, para mauwi niyo, para magamit niyo.

Anyway, so my manifestation, Mr. President, is on a similar note. In 2010, my office, along with an NGO called Mother Earth, initiated with the Senate recycling, reusing, and the establishment of an MRF. An MRF is a Material Recovery Facility. 

And, to cut a very interesting story short, we were able to cut in half our garbage in one month. This is around 2011. That is the MRF that we put up. [Points to a photo of the Senate MRF flashed on the monitor] So they collect, they segregate, etc. and the garbage delivery went down from once a week to every other week, which is half. 

But this information I have was in, 2011, so that was the 15th Congress, if I am not mistaken. We don’t have new data and so my request would be for the Secretariat to update us on how much garbage we [generate] and what are we doing to recycle it.

To give our colleagues an idea of how much paper we are currently using, I have asked my staff to put together [gestures to show pile of paper consisting of agenda, order of business, journal and other documents issued per senator per wek] – this is what we consumed in one week. This is… each pile is one senator. This is not even what you consume in your office, with the papers. But this is what the Secretariat produces for us. This is the reference of business, the agenda, the journal.

So on that note – thank you – My proposal the last time was that, it’s a personal choice to decide, if there are things that you can forego. Like for example, in my case, I am willing to look at the agenda on my laptop, I am willing to look at the reference of business on my laptop as well. I am old-school so a lot of the bills, I want to put it on hand-written notes, so there are some things that I can’t forego. But it’s just that we talk about it and we decide for ourselves and collectively what we are willing to do.

We need to lead by example, Mr. President. And that’s why I bring it up to all of us. Just for the body’s information, that was 90 pages per senator, produced by the Secretariat for us, not even counting whatever you produce in your own offices. 

So that is my manifestation, Mr. President, that the Secretariat update us on the status of our MRF, the status of the collection. By the way, our garbage collection bill went down, because we only had to have it collected every other week. But again, this is outdated information because this is a few years back.

So may we ask the Secretariat to update us in the next few days of weeks? [Senate President Sotto responds] 

SP Sotto: I am informed that the Secretariat will be ready to inform us on this matter by tomorrow.

Senator Cayetano: Thank you. And on that note, Mr. President, I also suggest that perhaps we can also have our own Senate app, because you can easily do a PDF of the reference of business, but it’s not always the easiest way to make your notes or to comment. But if we have our own app, exclusively for the senators, the staff, and the Secretariat, you can actually use something as basic as Google Documents wherein you can put your comments to share with your staff. Something again that I would just like the Secretariat and the leadership to consider.

Thank you very much, Mr. President!

*Manifestation delivered at the Senate session on Monday, August 5, 2019.

Senator Pia Cayetano demonstrates how much paper is distributed per senator in a week, as she appealed to her colleagues to consider going digital to help reduce the volume of paper waste generated by the Senate.