The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines will launch a national program that is inspired by Pope Francis’s encyclical on the care of the environment, Laudato si’.
In a statement, the CBCP Inter-Commission Working Group (ICWG) on Laudato Si said that the program hopes to boost efforts to “care of our common home.” (Read: Asia’s First Laudato Si’ Living Chapel Rises in Romblon Province)
“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,” said Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
Thus when the CBCP decided to push for a nationwide program on Laudato si’, “we are bringing faith to the transformation of society and the care for creation,” Tagle added.
National Laudato si’ Program
In 2019, the CBCP announced its plans for the National Laudato Si Program. This is to significantly contribute to protecting the Philippine environment. (Read: Pope Francis changes Laudato Si’ celebrations, now makes it year-long)
In a message, CBCP president 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.
He added, “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.”
In 2021 alone, the Philippines ranked 4th on the list of countries most affected by climate risks. This was after at least five typhoons devastated different parts of the country last year, leaving up to P90 billion worth of output losses, according to the National Economic and Development Authority or NEDA.
“Such amount can easily provide homes to 600 hundred thousand Filipino families,” said Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, head of the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice, and Peace. (Read: Legazpi Bishop Offers Words of Encouragement to Typhoon Victims)
“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,” he added.