ENVIRONMENTAL CONFAB. Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma (center) raises a point during a pre-convention press conference at his residence in Cebu City on Wednesday (Jan. 29, 2020). Palma announced the 1st Cebu Archdiocesan Convention on Climate Emergency to be held at a hotel in Barangay Lahug on Jan. 31 to Feb. 1, 2020. (PNA photo by John Rey Saavedra)

CEBU CITY – To put religious perspective in the global environmental conservation effort, the Roman Catholic Church in Cebu is set to hold a convention on climate emergency.

Archbishop Jose Palma on Wednesday announced that the Cebu Archdiocesan Commission on Environmental Concerns (CACEC) will take an active role in the two-day (Jan. 31 to Feb. 1) convention in a hotel in Barangay Lahug this city.

“In the CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines), much of our gatherings have focused on what we can do to a respond to the many forms of degradation and ways our environment had been destroyed,” Palma said during a press briefing.

He commended the collaborative effort of various stakeholders to help the archdiocese come up with the 1st Cebu Archdiocesan Convention on Climate Emergency which aims to become a venue for discussion of the church's ecological actions.

Fr. Murphy Sarsonas, chair of CACEC, said the church has 13 ecological actions but the convention will tackle only five which are considered “closer to Cebu.”

The church in Cebu is also set to launch on the second day of the convention the Cebu Climate Emergency Center, he said.

As the CBCP issued pastoral letter on July 16, 2019 on ecological conversion in the face of climate change, the Roman Catholic Church in Cebu responded by holding such convention.

According to a statement furnished to the media, the first archdiocesan conference on climate emergency will be attended by some 500 members of the clergy and lay leaders from 160 parishes in the province.

Representatives from the academe, business sector, civil society groups and local government units also signified their intention to attend the gathering.

Sarsonas cited Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si” which highlighted the care of “common home” and pressed the 2030 sustainable development agenda as a means to combat climate change.

The encyclical is recognized as the first papal document ever devoted entirely to ecology that champions renewable energy as the best alternative to fossil fuels.

“We have to stop using fossil fuels because it’s not just their use that is damaging to the human health, but the mining operations to dig them out of the ground are also se destructive to the environment,” Sarsonas said in a statement.

Palma praised the organization for setting the church-initiated environmental conference in time with the 500th anniversary of the Christianity in the country. (PNA)