By Gerard Naval
April 23, 2008
CARDINAL Gaudencio Rosales, archbishop of Manila , yesterday appealed to the faithful to show concern for the environment saying this will not only benefit the Earth's current inhabitants but also generations to come.
"Kapag hindi natin inalagaan ang daigdig natin, darating ang araw na hindi na kaya buhayin ng kalikasan ang mga taong nakatira dito. Ang tawag ng mga scientists dito ay ecological Armageddon," he said in his homily in the Earth Day mass at the Manila Cathedral.
"As we can see, sobra na ang init ngayon. Tapos nito, mararam-daman naman natin ang hagupit naman ng pagkalakas-lakas na ulan. Makikita na natin ang matinding pagbabago ng ugali ng kalikasan o yung tinatawag na climate change," Rosales said.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources led the Earth Day celebrations with a fluvial parade from Intramuros and Bacoor, Cavite while bikers took the streets of Quezon City.
Environment Secretary Joselito Atienza called on Filipinos to take a proactive role in protecting the environment and natural resources.
He said the government should harness the country's resources. "God has blessed our country with rich natural resources. It is imperative that everybody should take care of all these blessings not only to benefit us but also the next generations to come," he said.
Atienza said it is equally important to ensure the equitable distribution of the country's natural wealth to benefit all Filipinos, especially the poor and other marginalized sectors of society.
At least 200 environmentalists from the Kalikasan-Peoples Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE), Defend Patrimony, and Centre for Environmental Concerns formed a human chain in front of the DENR office in Quezon city in defence of the environment.
"Earth Day is a day for our environment, for our patrimony, and most especially for the brave people of our land who struggle to protect it from narrow, senseless, and profit-making objectives," said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan-PNE.
According to Kalikasan-PNE, seven major environmental disasters happened during the administration of Arroyo.
These were the 2001 Camiguin flash flood tragedy, 2003 Southern Leyte landslide disaster, 2004 Aurora-Quezon landslide tragedy, 2005 Semirara oil spill, 2006 St. Bernard landslide disaster, Guimaras oil spill, and Bicol mudslide tragedy.
Defend Patrimony, a multi-sectoral alliance opposing the government's mining liberalization policy, said "mining disasters are brought about by the failure of the government to properly manage environment and natural resources."
The Centre for Environmental Concerns said deforestation is one of the major causes of landslides and flash floods.
"Out of 154 priority watershed areas designated by DENR, 124 are deemed in critical state," said Frances Quimpo, executive director of Centre for Environmental Concerns (CEC-Phils).
- With Randy Nobleza