The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, through the Inter-Commission Working Group with the Global Catholic Climate Movement – Pilipinas, launched Thursday the National Laudato Si Program aimed at strengthening the collective advocacies and actions to “care for our common home.”
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Caritas Internationalis president, said in a statement “The Laudato Si encyclical is not just a ‘green rhetoric.’ It is a document that requires us to do ecological conversion, conversion to ecological justice, and action.”
Thus when the CBCP decided to push for a national Laudato Si program, “we are bringing faith to the transformation of society and the care for creation,” Tagle said.
In 2019 during the CBCP Plenary Assembly, the bishops issued a statement pushing for 10 concrete action points, including the implementation of a National Laudato Si Program, to significantly contribute to the Philippine environment protection efforts, especially in the light of devastating and more frequent natural disasters.
In his message, the president of the CBCP, Archbishop Romulo Valles said “as a Bishop, I have experienced the local scenarios of the global environmental problems that Laudato Si has pointed out to us. Davao City has been experiencing terrible flooding displacing thousands of families, even at one time, with scores of lives lost. Thus during the CBCP Plenary in January, we unanimously decided to act on the urgency of climate emergency.”
The 2021 Global Climate Risk Index showed that the Philippines ranked 4th in the list of countries most affected by climate risks. Just last year, at least five strong typhoons hit the country causing tremendous devastation amounting to “90 billion pesos output loses, or an equivalent to a reduction to the full-year GDP by 0.15 percent, according to NEDA.”
According to Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, head of the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace, “such amount can easily provide homes to 600 hundred thousand Filipino families.
“That is why the Catholic Church is really adamant to strategically unify all our efforts to respond to the climate emergency, and complement the efforts of our government and the private sector to protect the Philippine environment.”
Fr. John Leydon, chairperson of the Global Catholic Climate Movement – Pilipinas, also said in the statement “Convening the key commissions of the CBCP signals our serious concern to bring to the public’s attention the need for collective advocacies and actions to curb the effects of climate change.”
With Caritas Philippines and GCCM – Pilipinas in the inter-commission working group are the episcopal commissions on youth, indigenous peoples, clergy, laity, bible apostolate, inter-religious dialogue, ecumenical affairs, and Basic Ecclesial Communities.