Church leaders blame environment destruction for poverty

Church social action officials blamed environmental destruction for worsening and "dehumanizing" poverty and hunger in Mindanao at a recent general assembly in Surigao.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines website also said there is worsening food security brought about by landlessness and development aggression.

Participants also pinpointed as the cause of such a situation land use conversion, poor governance, ongoing mining, logging, mono-cropping and irreversible destruction of the environment as the further marginalization and displacement of communities, especially the indigenous peoples.

Attending the two-day meet were Bishops Nereo Odchimar (Tandag, Surigao del Sur), Juan De Dios Pueblos (Butuan), Antonieto Cabajog (Surigao del Norte), Dinualdo Gutierrez (Marbel, South Cotabato) and Patricio Alo (Mati, Davao Oriental).

The Social Action directors and the five prelates denounced what they described as "insatiable greed and corruption prevail in levels of governance which drives to excessive violation of human rights" which they said "obstructs the pursuit of the common good, genuine development and peace."

Also, the participants affirmed their commitment to "liberating poverty rooted in Gospel values, which upholds simplicity of lifestyle, responsible stewardship of God's creation, solidarity, integrity and complete trust in Divine Providence."

They also called for the "conscientious and progressive destruction of sinful social structures, advocacy for the equitable distribution of land, the active implementation and support of the sustainable agriculture program, protection and preservation of watersheds, immediate cancellation of mining permits, and disapproval of mining applications, promotion of IP rights, strengthening of the Bishops-Ulamas Conference and diocesan-led dialogues for peace in the BECs and with other faiths, and active participation in effective electoral reforms."

The participants urged the government to pursue "effective mechanisms" for attaining lasting peace" as they vowed continued support for the on-going peace process within the region based on "justice, transparency and accountability, development and respect for self-determination of the tri-peoples." (GMANews.TV)

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