January 14, 2015
An official from the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) will be asking Pope Francis to address the alarming issue of climate change which he said urgently needs the Church’s moral intervention.
The joint statement, which was made by NASSA/Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez together with the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, was issued in time for the upcoming apostolic and papal visit of Pope Francis in the country from January 15 to 19.
According to Fr. Gariguez, the Philippines has topped the list of most affected countries by weather-related disasters such as storms, floods ad heat waves, claiming lives and displacing families. He cited as an example the devastation of the strongest typhoon ever recorded Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), which he said has resulted to “catastrophic misery to our people.”
“Facing hunger, increased mortality due to temperature increase, more destruction from extreme weather events, the Philippines is at the doorstep of all major threat of climate change,” Gariguez stressed.
Gariguez, said he appeals for support to the Holy Father in seeking solidarity and justice for the communities affected by the climate crisis. He would likewise ask the Pope to demand all governments to commit to various climate change mitigation measures, and support calls that would end the continued burning of fossil fuel and other eco-destructive projects.
“Investing in fossil fuel companies and in eco-destructive projects is synonymous in supporting the destruction of our future. Divestment provides the means to change this status quo – to shift towards a system that will prioritize the welfare of the people and of nature over the relentless pursuit of profit,” he said.
He added that Pope Francis earlier categorically declared in his message to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change that “the effective struggle against global warming will only be possible with a responsible collective, that goes beyond particular interests and behavior, and is developed free of political and economic pressures.”
The priest said that he would hand his letter to the Pope through Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle during the Holy Father’s five-day papal visit to the country. One of the highlights will be the Pope’s special luncheon with some 30 families of the ‘Yolanda’ and the Bohol earthquake survivors.
The names of the survivors, who will take part in this historic event, have not yet been disclosed for security reasons. But Archdiocese of Palo Relief and Rehabilitation Unit Director Fr. Alcris Badana , who is in-charge of identifying the said participants, said that five families will each come from Calbayog, Borongan, Palo, Tanauan, Tolosa and Bohol.
The church through its social action arm NASSA/Caritas Philippines has been doing various rehabilitation efforts for ‘Yolanda’ survivors across nine provinces devastated by the typhoon through a three-year program which started last March.
Among these are the construction of 2,534 disaster-resilient shelters, installation of 3,529 water systems and provision of livelihood programs to 9,834 families as of last month.
Jing Rey Henderson
Senior Communications Officer
(0905) 546-9977 / 525-1924