Priest calls on gov’t. officials to tackle climate change issues-A A +A
Thursday, January 12, 2012
THE challenge in addressing the effects of climate change is getting government officials to implement sustainable adaptive measures, an Augustinian priest said during a mass offered for the protection of the environment.
“Our challenge is to policy makers and the government, (climate change) is not just about the balloons,” Fr. Tito Soquiño said in his homily during the mass held at the Basilica del Sto. Niño last Tuesday night.
“Who will wipe away the tears of children, the victims of environmental degradation?” he said.
Soquiño was referring to the two boys featured in a short video shown before he delivered his homily at the Pilgrim Center, which was packed with devotees.
The boys are from poor families living in Barangay Bilang-Bilangan in Bien Unido, Bohol. They live at the edge of Danajon Bank, a double barrier coral reef, which is known for its rich marine biodiversity.
The priest also preached against tying petitions to balloons and releasing these into the air.
He said the balloons end up in the sea where fishes mistake them for food and eat them, which causes their death.
The third annual environment mass is aimed at promoting the conservation and protection of natural resources through Catholic teachings on creation.
Soquiño said the small fishing village in Bohol is one of the sites visited by the Sto. Niño Social Development Foundation as part of the Duaw Sto. Niño activity.
He said there is a lack of political will to implement land use plans, particularly in stopping the construction of subdivisions within watershed areas.
There is urgency in addressing the effects of climate change, which include storm surges and rising sea level, he added.
"The climate is now determining our future and the first victim is the family. We are here to proclaim that Sto. Niño is the refuge of the Christian Filipino family. We are also challenged to become stewards of creation," Soquiño told churchgoers.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 12, 2012.