April 23, 2016
The Catholic Church through its social action arm, the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines, together with the nine dioceses from the provinces previously affected by Typhoon Yolanda joined hands in Cebu City on Friday in celebration of the Earth Day.
The celebration was highlighted by the unveiling of a symbolic “eco wall” with hand prints and commitments of the dioceses in caring for the earth, and a Eucharistic celebration.
“This is to signify our commitment to protect the Earth and the creation, especially we all know that the Philippines is at the doorstep of all major threats of climate change,” NASSA/Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez said.
The Philippines ranked second with the greatest risk to disaster worldwide in terms of climate change vulnerability based on the 2014 World Risk Report.
“The super typhoon Yolanda that devastated the country in 2013 attests to this level of vulnerability,” the priest added.
Among those present during the event are the representatives of the diocesan social action centers and relief and rehabilitation units of the dioceses in the provinces of Leyte, Western Samar, Eastern Samar, Palawan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, Aklan and Cebu.
Year 3 rehabilitation program
Now on its third year, NASSA/Caritas Philippines together with the dioceses are implementing various ecosystem rehabilitation services as part of the ‘Yolanda’ rehabilitation program called #REACHPhilippines.
These include water shed, mangrove and reforestation projects, formulation of environmental protection policies and resiliency plans, installation and maintenance of material recovery facilities, and conduct of capacity building activities.
There are also interventions on shelter, livelihood, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) with community-managed disaster risk reduction and community organizing as the overarching strategies.
So far, the overall Caritas response which includes NASSA/Caritas Philippines’ #REACHPhilippines program and the bilateral programs of the Caritas Internationalis Member Organizations (CI MOs) in the country have already reached 1.8 million people with total funds amounting to P3.508 billion.
Apart from implementing the Catholic Church’s largest rehabilitation program for Yolanda survivors, NASSA/Caritas Philippines has always been a staunch advocate of climate justice and farmers’ rights.
Earlier, NASSA/Caritas Philippines expressed alarm over reports of delayed release of government funds that would help ease the burden of farmers suffering from the ill effects of the El Niño phenomenon.
Archdiocese of Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Florencio and Relief and Rehabilitation Unit Director Fr. Charles Louis Jayme put their hand prints on the “eco wall” to show their commitment in protecting the Earth.(Photo credit: NASSA/Caritas Philippines)
NASSA/Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez and Diocese of Calbayog – Yolanda Rehabilitation Program Director Fr. Cezar Aculan together with the other dioceses affected by Typhoon Yolanda join in celebrating Earth Day in Cebu City. (Photo credit: NASSA/Caritas Philippines)
JING REY HENDERSON
Partnership, Program Development and Communications Coordinator
(0905) 546-9977 / 525-1924