MANILA, Dec. 4, 2015 – In a show of unity, the Dioceses of Dipologo, Ozamis, Pagadian, Iligan, and Marawi released on Nov. 11 a statement against coal mining and coal power plants, common concerns in the area.
“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,” reads part of the document signed by Dipolog Bishop Severo C. Caermare, DD; Iligan Bishop Elenito R. Galido, DD; Pagadian Bishop Emmanuel T. Cabajar, CSsR, DD; Bishop-Prelate of Marawi Edwin A. dela Peña, MSP, DD; Metropolitan Archbishop of Ozamiz Jesus A. Dosado, CM, DD.
The statement, which was also concurred by 166 delegates of the 40th DOPIM Bishops-Clergy Convention, describes the body’s “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.”
According to the document, coal mining and coal power plants are part of the “unchecked human activities” that are turning the earth into “an arid wasteland.”
Referring to the recent natural disasters and super typhoons that have hit the country recently, the bishops said: “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.”
The statement mentioned the Holy Father as an influence for their stand, saying, “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).”
The document was drafted during the 40th DOPIM Bihops-Clergy Convention at the Diocesan Pastoral Center, Del Carmen, Iligan City. (CBCP News)