Duterte needs to walk the talk on disaster management — Caritas PH

Duterte needs to walk the talk on disaster management — Caritas PH

Fr. Tony Labiao, the newly installed Executive Secretary of Caritas Philippines. PHOTO FROM NOVALICHES CATHEDRAL

By CBCP News

July 29, 2020

Manila, Philippines

The Catholic Church’s social action arm has challenged President Rodrigo Duterte to walk the talk on disaster management.

Fr. Tony Labiao, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, said that one cannot talk about disaster and climate change resilience as coal power plants and mining flourish in the country.

“One cannot be doing disaster management while doing nothing against coal and mining operations in the country,” Fr. Labiao said.

“There is a climate emergency and we are failing miserably in our collective response,” he said.

Duterte, for the fourth time, used his State of the Nation Address on Monday to call for the passage of bills creating the Department of Disaster Resilience.

He stressed that the people’s safety cannot just be delegated to a council or commission.

“We must act [now] before another major disaster shakes [us] into action,” Duterte said.

The Philippines lies on a typhoon belt and endures up to 20 storms a year, some of them devastating and deadly.

Its location on a tectonic plate or earthquake fault lines also makes the country vulnerable to temblors.

Fr. Labiao said that having a new department that will focus on disaster management is a “welcome development”.

The national Caritas dedicates at least P50 million per year for emergency response.

“But the government should value the suggestions made by the humanitarian sector and the civil society organizations,” he said.