April 24, 2016
A priest leading the social action, developmental and humanitarian arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) was honored as ‘environmental hero’ at this year’s GAIA Awards at the Earth Day Jam held Saturday in Pasay City.
The Earthday Jam Foundation, Inc. has recognized Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines, for leading various advocacies and movements of the Catholic Church in protecting the environment.
In his acceptance speech, Fr. Gariguez delivered a poem renewing calls to protect the earth from degradation and mining abuses at the expense of the poor.
“Habang ang pinagsasamantalahan ay ang kahirapan ng mga mamamayan, nagsasaya sa karampot na kabahaging naiwan. Itinuturing na biyaya ang biyayang mapanlinlang at tinatawag daw itong kaunlaran…” Gariguez said.
(While the poor are being taken advantaged, some are enjoying our limited natural resources. They treat them as blessings, which are actually false progress.)
This is not the first time that Gariguez was recognized for championing the causes of the environment and indigenous communities.Last month, the Jesuit-run Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro city bestowed Gariguez an honorary doctorate.
In 2012, he was also a winner of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest award for grassroots environmental activism.
Gariguez is known for championing the causes of the environment and indigenous communities. One of his notable works is when he led an 11-day hunger strike with the Mangyan in Mindoro to stop the mining operations of the Norweigian firm Intex in 2009.
Currently, he is leading the church’s largest three-year rehabilitation program called REACHPhilippines for survivors of Typhoon Yolanda in nine provinces, with ecosystem rehabilitation as one of its interventions.
He also recently expressed alarm over reports of delayed release of government funds such as the P1.32 billion Quick Response Funds that would help ease the burden of farmers suffering from the ill effects of the El Niño phenomenon.
NASSA/Caritas Phiilppines Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez together with the organizers of the Earthday Jam as he receives an award. (Photo Credit: NASSA/Caritas Philippines)
NASSA/Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez receives an ‘environmental hero’ at this year’s Earthday Jam. (Photo Credit: NASSA/Caritas Philippines)
JING REY HENDERSON
Partnership, Program Development and Communications Coordinator
(0905) 546-9977 / 525-1924