MANILA - Manila Bishop Broderick Pabillo on Sunday urged Filipinos to care for the environment as the country experienced a sweltering summer and climate disasters, according to him, are exacerbated by mining activities.
Pope Francis had designated May 16 to 24 as Laudato Si Week or the 6th anniversary of his encyclical, which backed scientific evidence that human activity was to blame for global warming.
"Totoong papunta tayo sa langit. Pero habang hinahangad natin na pumaroon tayo, 'wag nating pabayaan ang mundong ito kung nasaan tayo ngayon. Titirhan pa ito ng ating mga anak at mga apo. Anong klaseng mundo ba ang iiwan natin sa kanila?" Pabillo said in his Sunday mass homily.
(It's true we're going to heaven. But as we aspire to go there, let's not neglect the world we live in right now. It will be left to our children and grandchildren. What world do we want to leave them?)
"Ngayong Laudato Si Week, maging mulat tayo sa nangyayari sa ating kalikasan at magbago nawa ang ating ugali at pananaw alang-alang sa ating mundo. Sa misang ito, ipagdasal natin na bigyan tayong lahat ng pagmamahal at pagmamalasakit sa magandang mundo na ibinigay sa atin."
(This Laudato Si week, let's be more mindful of what's happening in the environment and change our habits and views for our world. In this mass, let's pray that we may have love and care for the beautiful world we were given.)
It does not help that President Rodrigo Duterte removed the moratorium on mining activities, Pabillo said.
"Mas pinapanigan pa ng mga pulis at military ang mga dayuhang mining companies kaysa sa mga mahihirap natin at tagapangalaga ng kalikasan," he said.
(The military and police side with foreign mining companies instead of the poor and environment defenders.)
"Ang pagmimina rin ang isang dahilan ng pagkasira ng mga communities ng mga Lumad at mga mahihirap. Magkakaroon naman ng maraming human rights violations at red-tagging sa mga leaders ng mga katutubo, magsasaka at mangigisda na tumututol sa mga mining na ito kasi nakakasira sa kanilang kabuhayan."
(Mining is also one of the causes why Lumad and poor communities are destroyed. There will be more human rights violations against and red-tagging of indigenous people, farmers, fishers who are against mining that destroy their living.)
The Philippines was the deadliest country for land and environmental defenders in 2018. It slipped to second place in 2019, watchdog Global Witness earlier said.
The country is also the most susceptible nation to hazards brought about by climate change, the Global Peace Index 2019 showed.
"In addition to ushering significant economic benefits in the country, the mining industry can support various government projects, such as the Build, Build, Build program, by providing raw materials... and the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program by increasing employment opportunities in rural areas where the are mining opportunities," Duterte had said when the nearly 9-year moratorium on new mining agreements was lifted last month.
During the commemoration of Earth Day 2021 also last month, Duterte reminded the public that a healthy nation depends on a healthy natural environment.
Earth Day "reminds us of our inherent responsibility to take care of our planet," Duterte said in a taped message, urging the public to "work with a new vigor" to make the Philippines "climate-resilient and climate-smart."