Cardinal Jose Advincula, archbishop of Manila, presides over Mass at the RVM Sports Complex in Puerto Princesa City for the celebration of the 400 years of Christianity in Palawan province, Aug. 25, 2023. SCREENSHOT FROM AVPP VIDEO

By CBCP News

August 26, 2023

Manila, Philippines

A prominent church leader on Friday called on the people of Palawan province to safeguard their environment against abuse or degradation.

While presiding over the Mass for the celebration of 400 years of Christianity on the island, Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila emphasized that Catholics are entrusted with a mission to protect God’s “gift” to them.

He highlighted that Palawan undeniably enjoys nature’s blessings and abundant natural resources, which God has “entrusted” to its people.

“Living our Christian faith and the Church’s mission in Palawan includes protecting the environment from abuse and destruction,” Advincula said in his homily.

The Manila archbishop also urged the faithful to preserve their natural resources for future generations, rather than succumbing to “selfish interests”.

Thousands of people gathered at the RVM Sports Complex in Puerto Princesa City for the liturgy, marking the culmination of the year-long celebration of the local Church’s 400th anniversary.

Palawan, renowned for its rich biodiversity and natural beauty, ranks among the country’s fastest-growing tourism destinations.

However, the island’s breathtaking environment, with its abundant resources, faces severe threats from mining and illegal logging operations.

Bishops Socrates Mesiona of Puerto Princesa and Broderick Pabillo of Taytay have repeatedly appealed to government authorities to protect the island from further environmental destruction.

Palawan is also home to different indigenous groups, each with their own rich culture and tradition.

“They are also the mission of the Church,” Advincula said, urging the local churches to continue their social services and defend the rights of indigenous peoples. (With reports from Joseph Ryan Moscoso)


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