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Statement on Coal Mining and Coal Power Plant

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STATEMENT OF THE DIOCESES OF DIPOLOG, OZAMIS, PAGADIAN, ILIGAN,
AND MARAWI ON COAL MINING AND COAL POWER PLANT

We, the one hundred sixty-six (166) delegates of the 40th DOPIM Bishops-Clergy Convention, unanimously express our serious concern on the operation of coal mining and coal power plant that triggers apprehension among our people and poses environment threat in the provinces where such facility is being established.

With faith in the Lord of Creation, we want to heed the call of Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si that urges us all to care for the earth as our common home. Citing St. Francis of Assisi, the Holy Father persuades us to treat our common home like our sister.

However, knowing the reality of our destructive attitude and activities towards her, the Pope writes that “The6 sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see€ ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she ‘groans in travail’ (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her water” (Laudato Si,2).

Since climate is a common good it is but right to be involved in the discussion of climate change especially that it is now destructive not only to properties to but also to lives. Accordingly, the world is on the brink of becoming an arid wasteland due to ‘unchecked human activities’. We are living witnesses of the destruction brought about by weather changes and the effects to health by carbon emissions. The calamities that claimed thousands of lives these past years and months are enough proof to awaken in us a commitment to safeguard creation and help mitigate their effects.

Pope Francis, seeing the urgency of action in dealing with environmental crisis, points out the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal to be progressively replaced without delay (Cf. Laudato Si, 165). We cannot simply sit idly while seeing the unfolding of horrific events resulted by so called technological progress at the expense of nature. Instead we recommend the use of renewable energy which is of course not harmful to the environment and to humans.

As Bishops of the Dioceses of Dipolog, Ozamis, Pagadian, Iligan, and Marawi (DOPIM), which comprise the civil provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Sur, Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, we completely oppose the operation of coal mining and coal power plants most especially within the aforementioned provinces. We do this not only because of our human responsibility, but as a call intrinsic to our Christian faith.

We hereby urge all concerned – both the coal industry and the government – in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to have the same concern. We also call the faithful and all people of good will be vigilant at all times and in all places because our common home is in danger of devastation. We will not allow ourselves to arrive at the point of no return.

May God hear us and come to defend the beautiful creation He has entrusted to us. May Mary, the Queen of all creation, cover us with her mantle of maternal care.

Formulated during the 40th DOPIM Bihops-Clergy Convention on November 11, 2015 at the Diocesan Pastoral Center, Del Carmen, Iligan City.

Signed by:

Most Rev. Severo C. Caermare, DD
Bishop of Dipolog

Most Rev. Elenito R. Galido, DD
Bishop of Iligan

Most Rev. Emmanuel T. Cabajar, CSsR, DD
Bishop of Pagadian

Most Rev. Edwin A. dela Peña, MSP, DD
Bishop-Prelate of Marawi

Most Rev. Jesus A. Dosado, CM, DD
Metropolitan Archbishop of Ozamiz

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