March 23, 2023

Manila, Philippines

In 1988, the Catholic Church said our country was in peril and called out the faithful, church institutions and organizations, civic leaders, and the government to save our “beautiful land.”

Thirty-five years later, we have not improved a bit. Sea levels rise in the Philippines three times than the world average while naturally rich ecosystems are being destroyed, typhoons though fewer now have become more devastating as our forests are steadily vanishing, and millions of Filipinos were drawn to deeper involuntary poverty due to climate effects annually.

It is for this reason, and more, that Caritas Philippines and the Social Action Network join more than 70 countries, the United Nations, world leaders, experts, environmental defenders, civil society activists, and faith organizations across the globe in declaring a climate emergency.

We cannot be business as usual. While we have institutionalized programs on agroecology, invested millions in natural farming, and strengthened our advocacies on environmental protection, we feel that these are still not enough. More intentional and synodal actions need to be in place to mitigate climate impacts, especially in vulnerable communities.

Thus, together with the Social Action Network, we vowed in 2022 to make ecology and governance our strategic priorities. As such, we further commit to:

1. Collectively defend the rights of nature by pushing for the RoN and alternative minerals management legislations, and by actively campaigning against coal, mining, seabed quarrying, and other extractive and dirty energy operations

2. Increase investments in the steady transition to renewable energy sources for church buildings, Catholic schools, and other similar facilities, and divest by 2025 all financial assets with exposure to coal, fossil gas, and destructive energy to realize genuine ecological financial stewardship

3. Provide fund support to the establishment and strengthening of the diocesan ecology ministries

4. Avow and enforce the CBCP-initiated non-acceptance policy of donations of whatever kind, from owners or operators and any representative of extractive companies regardless of the scale of operation

5. Collaborate with the government and private sector in establishing diocesan forests (bamboo, fruit-bearing, endemic), farm schools, community gardens, and waste reduction, to contribute to carbon sequestration, mitigation of floods, landslides, and erosion, food security, community social enterprises development, and the promotion of Sapat Lifestyle

6. Provide legal support to environmental and human rights defenders and communities affected by unjust and irresponsible extractive operations and development aggressions

7. push for accountability among government officers, private corporations, and individuals who are liable for exacting policies and actions detrimental to the well-being of society and the environment, and

8. Continuously design and implement humanitarian and development initiatives with the communities to ensure ownership, climate resiliency, and sustainability.

We make this declaration and commitment, as we demand our government to do the same, in the hope of expanding our tent, so we shall still live in grace in “our beautiful land.”

Declare climate emergency now! Pass the Rights of Nature bill now!

In Solidarity, we sign our names below:

1. Apostolic Vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe Social Action Center
2. Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan Social Action Center
3. Archdiocesan Social Action Center of Cotabato
4. Archdiocese of Manila – Ecology Ministry
5. Archdiocese of Manila Social Action Commission
6. Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia – Commission on Ecology
7. Archdiocesan Social Action Center of Zamboanga
8. Archdiocese of Caceres – Ecology Ministry
9. Caritas Baguio
10. Caritas Cabanatuan
11. Caritas Caceres
12. Caritas Capiz
13. Caritas Catarman
14. Caritas Cebu
15. Caritas Cubao
16. Caritas Kalookan
17. Caritas La Union
18. Caritas Lingayen-Dagupan
19. Caritas Manila
20. Caritas Marbel
21. Caritas Novaliches
22. Caritas Nueva Segovia
23. Caritas Palo
24. Caritas Philippines
25. Caritas San Jose (Occidental Mindoro)
26. Caritas San Pablo
27. Caritas Sorsogon
28. Caritas Tabuk
29. Caritas Tandag
30. Caritas Tarlac
31. Caritas Tuguegarao
32. Caritas Virac
33. Diocese of Butuan
34. Diocese of Iba
35. Diocese of Antipolo – Ecology Ministry
36. Diocese of Lucena – Ministry of Ecology
37. Diocese of Parañaque
38. Diocesan Social Action Center of Antique
39. Diocesan Social Action Center of Bataan
40. Diocesan Social Action Center of Bacolod
41. Diocesan Social Action Center of Bayombong
42. Diocesan Social Action Center of Butuan
43. Diocesan Social Action Center of Calbayog
44. Diocesan Social Action Center of Dipolog
45. Diocesan Social Action Center of Ilagan
46. Diocesan Social Action Center of Iligan
47. Diocesan Social Action Center of Kalibo
48. Diocesan Social Action Center of Kidapawan
49. Diocesan Social Action Center of Legazpi
50. Diocesan Social Action Center of Mati
51. Diocesan Social Action Center of Pagadian
52. Diocesan Social Action Center of San Carlos
53. Diocesan Social Action Center of Urdaneta
54. Diocesan Social Action Center of Tagbilaran
55. Diocese of Antipolo – Ecology Ministry
56. Franciscan Solidarity Movement for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation
57. Jaro Archdiocesan Social Action Center
58. Lipa Archdiocesan Social Action Commission, Inc.
59. Missionaries of Mary Mother of the Poor
60. Prelature of Isabela de Basilan Social Action Center
61. Prelature of Marawi Social Action Center
62. Archdiocesan Social Action Center of Ozamis


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