Strengthen ecology desks, bishops urged

Strengthen ecology desks, bishops urged

Bishop Valentin Dimoc of Bontoc-Lagawe speaks during the National Convention on Laudato Si’ and Climate Emergency held at the San Carlos Seminary in Makati City, Sept. 3, 2019. PHOTO FROM CARITAS PHILIPPINES

By CBCPNews

September 12, 2019

Manila, Philippines

Church groups are pushing for the strengthening of diocesan ecology desks by mobilizing more personnel and resources, in the midst of “climate emergency”.

In a statement issued after the recent National Convention on Laudato Si and Climate Change, the participants stressed the need to strengthen ecology-related collaborations at all levels.

“We strongly call on the respective diocesan bishops and religious superiors to prioritize the allocation of budget and financial support for the ecology desk,” they said.

Around 140 participants from different church organizations attended the convention held on Sept. 3 to 5 at San Carlos Seminary in Makati City.

The gathering made a “closer look” at Pope Francis’ encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si, and the Philippine bishops’ recent pastoral letter that called for “ecological conversion”.

Both documents have guided the convention to come up with a concrete action plan “that would unite our diverse voices to care for our common home”.

“We should be prepared to drop whatever we are busy at and realign our programs according to the demands of the urgent situation,” they said.

The bishops’ conference has earlier called on dioceses to set up an ecology desk in social action centers that would make the environment their special concern.

Several dioceses are engaged in ecological issues with different priorities from waste management to anti-mining advocacy.

The participants said that a strong ecology desk is needed to implement the 13 action-points articulated by the bishops in their pastoral letter on ecology.

They also called on the bishops and religious superiors to support and actively participating in organizing the sub-regional ecology centers.

The convention ended with a clear message that climate justice cannot wait and therefore, the church and environmental advocates must work together with an increased level of urgency.

Bishop Valentin Dimoc of Bontoc-Lagawe said that the church has “to share the burden of reinvigorating the environment”.

“In one way or another, we have caused the death of our rivers, forests and sea beds. Therefore, it is our obligation now to restore what we destroyed,” he said.

As a direct response, the convention also agreed to push further the discussions on divestment through dialogues with top investors on coal, mining and other extractive industries.

Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Caritas Philippines’ Executive Secretary, said that they would like the financial institutions and the government to know how serious they are about the campaign.

“But we also would like to provide them option by reinvesting in clean, renewable energy that are already available in the Philippine energy market,” he said.

The organizations also agreed to support the legislation of the Rights of Nature bill by starting discussions with the local policy makers and government units until the bill is passed by Congress. CBCPNEWS