Yolanda survivors calls for climate justice during Papal visit
Survivors of typhoon Yolanda in Anibong, Tacloban, along with various civil society organizations, welcomed Pope Francis yesterday with a series of activities pertaining to climate justice and rehabilitation during his visit to areas devastated by the storm surge.
One among the communities left most devastated by the typhoon, survivors from Anibong greeted the Holy Father with a banner reading, “People’s Pope: Support us in seeking Climate Solidarity and Justice, and an End to Fossil Fuel Investment” which they hung at the large shipping vessel still stuck in the area today since it was swept ashore by the typhoon.
“Mercy and compassion must also be extended not only to people, but to Mother Nature as well,” said Pascualito Ilagan, convenor of PMCJ Eastern Visayas.
The banner-hanging was followed by a short program organized by the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), a national coalition consisting of grassroots communities and sectors campaigning for policy changes on Yolanda and climate change.
“These activities are aimed at raising awareness for several issues related to climate change and the rehabilitation efforts for typhoon Yolanda,” Ilagan stated. “We, the people who suffer the most from the effects of climate change demand justice.”
Held days before Pope Francis issues an encyclical on climate change this year, PMCJ, its member organizations and the communities in Tacloban, along with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines – National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) urged the Pope to join them in the fight for a safer climate and justice for communities affected by the climate crisis.
“We welcome Pope Francis with the hope that our advocacy for the care of the earth and for genuine development and justice for the poor will be taken up as part of the major agenda for his pastoral visit,” Fr. Edu Gariguez, Executive Secretary of CBCP-NASSA said in a previous statement. “Climate change is an issue that is clearly related to our Christian responsibility to care for the earth and to care for the poor and vulnerable in our midst.”
Communities and local church members are scheduled to discuss the topic of integrity of creation and climate justice among church members and community members today, which will be concluded by a Vigil for climate justice.
“We encourage the Pope to show solidarity with the survivors of typhoon Yolanda, whose experience proves the need to end investments in fossil fuel and eco-destructive projects,” Gerry Arances, National Coordinator of PMCJ. “It also reminds us of the urgency of shifting from a paradigm of pursuing profit to one which gives priority to nature and the people’s interest.”
JANUARY 17, 2015
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