Catholic schools in Negros Island say NO to coal
The Living Laudato Si Philippines lauds the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) – Negros Island in its opposition of the proposed coal-fired power plant in San Carlos City.
“Negros Occidental’s new governor Eugenio Jose ‘Bong’ Lacson must assure the economic and environmental well-being of the province, he has the moral responsibility to also respond to the country’s efforts to slow down global warming and stop climate change from becoming worse. Catholic schools in Negros have spoken,” said Rodne R. Galicha, lead convenor of Living Laudato Si Philippines and executive director of Climate Action for Sustainability Initiative (KASALI).
Indeed, this a concrete action Pope Francis’ call for ecological education:
“Political institutions and various other social groups are also entrusted with helping to raise people’s awareness. So too is the Church. All Christian communities have an important role to play in ecological education. It is my hope that our seminaries and houses of formation will provide an education in responsible simplicity of life, in grateful contemplation of God’s world, and in concern for the needs of the poor and the protection of the environment. Because the stakes are so high, we need institutions empowered to impose penalties for damage inflicted on the environment. But we also need the personal qualities of self-control and willingness to learn from one another.” (Laudato Si, No. 213)
We echo the calls of the CEAP-Negros Island for the island’s lawmakers to “see the proposal with an objective and critical eye that they may truly see the ill-effects of the building of a coal-fired power plant” and the incoming local officials “to open channels of dialogue with their constituents” to see the true impacts of such a decision. As pointed out by Pope Francis in the Laudato Si, it is a must for communities “to embrace an energy that is clean, renewable, and equitable” for the benefit of current and future generations.
Per the statement, data clearly shows that developing Negros Occidental’s renewable energy potential would be more than enough to consistently provide electricity that meets the demands of its population. At a time when the use of coal is declining worldwide and urgent action to combat climate change is needed now more than ever, favouring coal over renewables is simply not an option.
“We appeal to him as a conscientious Catholic public servant to give a clear witness to his Christian Faith and holiness of life even in politics! That this is still possible in our time and age and ever more necessary and urgent!,” said Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of the Diocese of San Carlos.
“We are willing to work with him in many other concerns and issues we mutually share for the sake of the common good but we are clear that as far as allowing coal in Negros, specifically in San Carlos City, we stand by Pope Francis’ call in Laudato Si. This we will never compromise,” Bishop Alminaza assured.
We, therefore, encourage everyone, including the young people, to wear black and join the inaugural protest in front of Negros Occidental Capitol Lagoon on June 29, 2019, Saturday, in solidarity with Negrosanons as they challenge the new provincial adminsistration to act on the climate crisis and send a strong message opposing the building of a coal-fired power plant in San Carlos City and elsewhere.