Caceres Archbishop to clergy: reject donation from quarry operators

By Myrna Bermudo


Citing the recent CBCP Pastoral Statement on Ecology, Caceres Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, OCD, DD, asserted a “non-acceptance policy” of whatever kind from owners or operators and anyone from the extractive industries especially those in coal, fossil gas, mining, quarrying, and logging regardless of the scale of operations. He made this statement in an interview in Manindogan, a radio program aired over DWNX, on January 30.


“Ang Simbahan ay di tatanggap ng donasyon na nanggagaling sa mga industriya na nakakasira ng ating kalikasan. Halimbawa: quarrying, tinatapyas ang bundok, pinagka-kwartahan ang bundok. Samantalang, ang bundok ay siyang nagsa-sangga sa atin sa bagyo. But, sinisira ang bundok dahil sa quarry. Ang bundok din ang tahanan ng iba’t-ibang hayop at biodiversity. Quarrying is a destructive act. We condemn that. What we encourage are constructive acts for the environment,” Bishop Tirona illustrated.


“The Pastoral Letter is a testimony of the Church’s long-standing regard for the care of God’s creation. It is guided by the wisdom of our Holy Father Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si’ On Care for Our Common Home, which calls “for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet” (LS, 14),” CBCP bishops stated.


Calling the move as a CBCP landmark decision, Bishop Tirona said: “what we are encouraging are constructive actions for the environment. Isa lang yan sa to show that the Church is serious in caring for the environment. “


The decision is a strong reminder to all the bishops of the Philippines to be prudent. “Paalala yan sa amin. Sinasabi sa amin na maging prudent sa pagtanggap ng donation. Siempre kasama dyan ang di pagtanggap ng pera galing sa druga at corruption. Kaya lang, karamihan, di namin alam kung saan nanggagaling. Yan ang problema,” Bishop Tirona said.


When asked if the policy will cascade to the parishes, Bishop Tirona said: “Understood yan. Obispo ang mag-i-implement. Kaya pinapa-alalahanan ko na sila. Be discerning.”


“Halimbawa, nalaman ko yung isang parokya , tumatanggap ng donasyon from industries or business engaged in destruction of nature, tungkulin ko na paalalahanan ang pari. Sinasabi na natin ito para wala nang embarrassment at di magkasakitan pa ng loob. At hindi natin hinuhusgahan ang nagbibigay,” the Bishop emphasized.


The CBCP also commits to restrict and eventually withdraw their resources from banks that continue to finance coal projects by 2025.


Quoting the CBCP statement, Bishop Tirona said: “Steer resources of the Church to genuinely sustainable ventures by actively urging financial entities to adopt sustainable finance policies and invest in renewable energy and ecological restoration and protection efforts.”


“If possible, the resources of the Church must be invested in financial institutions that support care of the environment. Ilagay sa mabuti o ilipat by 2025. This is the target: to move away from banks that invest in destructive industries,” he continued.


For Caceres Archbishop Tirona, the pastoral letter is an important document. “It shows that the Church has a concern and is ready to respond to environmental issues. We are also reminded to care for our Mother Earth.”


“In the Bible, God made everything. And it was good. Maganda ang kalikasan. Binigay sa atin upang tulungan tayo sa pamumuhay,” he said.


“Dito ako magre-retiro!” Bishop Tirona revealed. “Mayaman ang biodiversity ng Bikol, kaya nga dito ako magreretiro. Masaya dito. Very holistic. Bicolanos are wonderful people, and we have wonderful environment.”


Lastly, he appealed: “Let us protect the gift of natural resources, the biodiversity, the mountain ranges, the fertile land here in Bikol. Magayon ang kalikasan dito. Let us all care for Mother Nature.”