Wanted: 200k youth to save Marikina Watershed
Ecological advocate Fr. Benigno Beltran, SVD is calling on young Filipinos to help heal the Marikina Watershed by joining a massive tree-planting as part of the Year of the Youth. BELTRAN’S FB ACCOUNT
By Minnie Agdeppa
Dec. 17, 2018
As part of the celebration of the Year of the Youth, an ecological advocate has been going around dioceses on a mission to have at least 200,000 young people sign up to save the Marikina Watershed.
“We need to go beyond the tarpaulins and formations from one liturgical year to the next as we prepare for the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the country,” said Fr. Benigno Beltran, SVD in Filipino during a homily on Dec. 9 at the Sacred Heart Parish of Kamuning in this city.
“We need concrete action in this Year of the Youth by branding the youth stewards of the earth,” he stressed, referring to the tree-planting the youth will spearhead.
Drawing insights from the Gospel that day about the faith of the paralyzed man’s friends and how “finding extraordinary means” to get to Jesus healed him, the priest said he has been seeking the help of bishops and priests to “go organic.”
In this process, Beltran said, he is also getting the bishops to volunteer 400 young people per diocese to reach his goal.
According to him, Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias and his clergy have already agreed to support the project. “Imagine that’s 71 parishes!” he exclaimed, adding that the diocese will also send 400 youth to join the tree-planting in the Marikina Watershed.
8k organic farmers
He underlined the need to care for the Marikina Watershed that has been neglected over the years.
According to Beltran, Bishop Honesto Ongtioco has also expressed support for the project. The Dioceses of Cubao and Malolos, which he oversees as its Administrator, will soon have Sunday markets in the parishes where people can buy organic produce. He said Bishop Francis of Antipolo has also recently agreed to his proposal.
“Countless women have already died to breast cancer because of the food they eat that is laden with chemicals, so we are doing something about it through these efforts,” he explained.
He revealed that he has already organized the organic farmers in the CALABARZON area to provide the produce for the organic markets he is proposing. Because of this, he stressed, the Department of Agriculture has now reached out to him to seek his assistance in organizing 8,000 organic farmers in Region III.