By Erma Edera
A multi-sectoral group of environmentalists from civil society, academe, Catholic laymen and concerned citizens launched a movement urging Catholic financial institutions to divest themselves of investments involved in environmentally destructive practices and operations in the country outside the Manila Cathedral on Wednesday morning.
“It is time for us to live out the challenge posed to us by Pope Francis and to take tangible steps toward achieving a more sustainable planet not just for us but most importantly, for future generations,” Rodne Galicha, head of The Climate Reality Project-Philippines said.
“We need to take action against climate change. Otherwise, we stand to continue suffering from the effects of global warming,” Galicha added.
In June 2015, Pope Francis issued his encyclical titled “Laudito Si: One care for our common home,” where the pontiff took a strong stance against consumerism, environmental degradation, and global warming caused by irresponsible human activities.
Another lead convenor, former education secretary and De La Salle University president Bro. Armin Luistro urged financial institutions to withdraw investments and cease patronage of Philippine businesses in industries such as mining, coal-fired power plants and other activities that pollute the environment.
“Kahit ilang tonelada pang plastic ang pulutin ko eh kung yung pera ko naman naka-invest sa kumpanya na gumagawa ng plastic. Eh kung alisin ko na lang ‘yung pera ko sa kumpanya na nagpo-produce ng plastic e ‘di ba mas malaki ang impact nun?,” he said.
The “Laudato Si” movement encourages Filipino consumers and investors to support and patronize businesses involved in sustainability initiatives such as the conservation of natural resources.