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Philippine bishops tackle green issues at plenary

MANILA (UCAN): The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) took up issues relating to care of the environment during its bi-annual plenary meeting at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Centre from July 6 to 8.
“The environment is a big issue that’s why we need to also look at it,” Father Marvin Mejia, secretary-general of the bishops’ conference, explained.
Columban Father John Leydon, co-convener of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, who addressed the bishops during the meeting previously noted that commitment to the environment by many Catholics in the Philippines is wanting.
He said Church-run businesses still invest in mining, coal and other dirty energy projects despite several Church institutions having already sold their stocks and invested in renewable energy.
In the northern Philippines, Catholics in the Diocese of Baguio were urged to bring plants and seedlings when attending the wake of the late Bishop Carlito Cenzon, who died on June 26  (Sunday Examiner, July 7).
A circular issued by Bishop Victor Bendico of Baguio, said the initiative was in response to Bishop Cenzon’s active role in the care for the earth.
“He initiated the Tree of Life Programme in the diocese to propagate bamboo for the protection of the environment,” Bishop Bendico said.
Bishop Bendico also recalled that the late bishop led an initiative to raise funds to reinstate the city’s children’s playground and fence off the city’s main park for its protection and preservation.
Aside from environmental issues, the bishops discussed their recent ad limina visits to the Vatican and the issues raised during the trip.
Father Mejia said the Church leaders were also planning to discuss preparations for the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021.
“Starting this year, the preparation is more on catechetical formation,” said the priest. 
Meanwhile, Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao and Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, were re-elected to a second and final term as president and vice president of the CBCP having been first elected in 2017.
Archbishop Valles is known to be a close friend of the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, while Bishop David has earned the president the ire for his criticism of the government’s bloody war on narcotics.
Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, who was elected to the conference’s Permanent Council, said that with the re-election the bishops have renewed their “cooperation and collaboration” with Archbishop Valles.
He told reporters at the end of the assembly that Philippine Church leaders have vowed to do more for the people, particularly the “voiceless.”
Bishop Santos said the bishops agreed to be more “responsible stewards of our environment” and to “care and protect our people, especially the vulnerable and voiceless.”

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