Philippines, according to several international studies, is now in the brink of climate emergency. In 2013, the central regions of the country, considered as the poorest, experienced the worst typhoon ever recorded in history – Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), killing more than 6,000 individuals, and destroying agriculture, infrastructure and livelihoods.
In addition to, rural communities are not the only ones greatly affected, the indigenous peoples have been victimized time and again by government and business corporations wanting to establish: 1] mining, logging, and quarrying operations, 2] private resorts, recreational facilities and offshore gaming hubs, 3] first class subdivisions and villas, and 4] plantations and agro-industrial economic zones.
Thus, poor law enforcement and the lack of sheer political will of duty bearers to contradict anti-poor and anti-environment economic policies sponsored by multi-national conglomerates and political figures, pushes more communities and families to dive further into the extreme recesses of poverty, and climate vulnerabilities.
Hence, people are left to put their hopes to faith-based organizations, especially the Catholic Church. This brings the urgent need to re-organize, re-strategize and strengthen environment and climate actions.
This pressing concern was one of the priorities during the 32nd Plenary Assembly this July 2019 of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. It issued another installment to a three-decade commitment to ecological protection through the Pastoral Letter: An Urgent Call for Ecological Conversion, Hope in the Face of Climate Emergency.
As the office tasked by the CBCP to immediately act on this urgent concern, NASSA/Caritas Philippines together with: 1] Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) Philippines, 2] Living Laudato Si, 3] Center for Energy and Ecology Development, 4] Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI), 5] the different CBCP episcopal commissions, and 6] other networks and partners, will be working towards a more unified, sustainable, and strategic pro-environment and pro-people advocacy actions through: a] creation of national and regional eco-convergence hubs and diocesan ecology desks, b] establishment of a national Laudato Si program, c] strengthened Church-CSO campaigns and advocacies on divestment from coal, mining and other extractive industries, and d] sustained advocacy and lobbying activities for the legislation of the Rights of Nature bill.