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Archdiocese of Manila Celebrates Earth Day with Archdiocesan Conference on Ecological Conversion and Public Forum on Genetically Modified Organism

The Archdiocese of Manila Ministry on Ecology has been celebrating EARTH DAY for five years now through various activities. This year the celebration aims to bring to the consciousness of as many people as can be reached, the call for “Ecological Conversion,” made by Pope Benedict XV1, Pope John Paul II and other previous Popes, that outlined the Christians’ responsibilities as stewards of God’s creation.

The Ministry on Ecology will hold the Archdiocesan Conference on Ecological Conversion on April 22, 2010 from 8am to 5pm. at the Savio Dome, Don Bosco Technical Institute, Chino Roces cor. Arnaiz Sts., Makati City.

The conference aims to deepen the consciousness of the Catholic faithful on  the Christian vocation of stewardship and inspire them to take concrete action now that  we are experiencing the harsh consequences of ecological crisis. It is open to all people of all ages and walks of life and no registration fee is required. Each parish, school, religious communities and ministries may send at least 20 participants.

The program will include the following: Updates on the Philippine biodiversity and its current situation, purpose and values of creation, Catholic Social Teachings and the latest message of Pope Benedict V1, “If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation”. A Public Forum on Genetically Modified Organisms will also be held within the conference to orient participants the advantages and disadvantages of the said technology to health, agriculture and environment. A conference resolution/statement will also be formulated as the Archdiocesan stance on various ecology issues we are facing today.

This will be a NO TRASH activity, therefore we require all participants to bring their own baon for lunch and snacks. If they opt to buy their food from the booths, each participant should bring their own food containers, glass/ cup and silver spoon. Plastic or styro containers are not allowed.

The Ministry on Ecology was established five years ago by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal B. Rosales to educate the faithful and help them understand that the present ecological crisis is of human making and to teach them concrete actions to amend the sins against the environment that hurt God the creator.  The ministry was an expansion of what used to be the Ecology Desk with Lou Valencia Arsenio.

Fr. Benito Tuazon was appointed director of the Ministry, which first held office in the Caritas Bldg. After a year, it settled in its own constructed office made from various second-hand donated construction materials and hollow blocks made from pulverized plastic within Caritas Manila compound in Pandacan, Manila. The Ecology ministry started immediately its nature caring commitment through Ecology seminars, film festivals, and trainings. It has initiated several activities on awareness and education campaigns such as conducting comprehensive ecology training for parishes and various church institutions.  Trainings on ecological waste management was held for schools and parishes.

To complete its zero waste management system, the waste pickers from Smokey Mountain, the PNR railroad tracks, some of the relocatees of Southville, Cabuyao and  the street families were organized and trained to become eco aide to catholic institutions and offices. Urban poor women were also trained to recycle by making accessories, bags and other materials from the waste papers, plastic and the like.

It also introduced urban organic vegetable gardening, food waste composting, banning the use of styrofoam, and producing blocks with plastic components for construction. Making of shopping/market bags and throw pillows using used katsa bags were also done. Production of organic liquid fertilizers and herbal pesticides were also done for the use of the Archdiocese Ecology Farm in Tagaytay City. It also trained parishes on the importance, processing and use of herbal medicines.

The ministry continued to expand and widen its mission. It was tasked starting in 2007 to take care of the small farmland in Tagaytay City and converted it into a pure organic farm where indigenous species of chicken, pig, vegetables and trees are being propagated. It conducted a week long free training on organic farming for neighbor farmers who are being employed in the farm. Started the watershed rejuvenation and agro forestry development program in Marikina Watershed Protected Area where parishes planted more than 10,000 narra trees in Sitio San Jose, Barangay San Josef, Antipolo City.

It also introduced the green flag school program to Catholic Schools where school administrators and teachers were introduced to make their school environment friendly.

Here is the program for the Ministry of Ecology’s celebration.

7:00 -  8:00       

8:00 - 8:15       
Welcome from EMCEE, Lou Arsenio

  • Opening Ceremony
  • Para Liturgy: KALIPAYA & the Youth Eco Theater Group
  • Welcome message & Objectives   -   Fr. Benny Tuazon, Minister
  • Introduction of  participants & resource persons -    Ms. Angelique Lazo

8:15 – 9:15          
Input:  Creation, Purpose and current challenges  - Fr. John Leydon

9:15 -  9:45            
Multi Media: Updates on Philippine Biodiversity ( documentary film)

9:45 - 10:00           

10:00- 12:00          
PUBLIC FORUM- Facilitators: Ms. Angelique Lazo & Fr. Benny
Issue:  “Genetically Modified Organism,  a Modern Food Production Technology & Climate Change”

10:00 -10:10   
Introduction of Resource Persons and forum guide

10:10- 10:20   
Relevance of Genetic Modification like  Bt  Eggplant to Food Supply &  environment

Important Role of  DOST in endorsing the commercialization of  Bt eggplant and other Bt products DOST

10:30- 10:40  
Policies hat guide the government in implementing the 
commercialization of Bt. Eggplant BPI/DA

Nature and purpose of genetic modification especially Bt eggplant Dr. Maghirang                                                                                                                                                   

Impacts of  Genetic Modification  to Organic Farming/Farmers SIBAT

Legal challenges of Genetic Modification e.g. Bt.Eggplant - Atty. Ping Peria

Genetic Engineering a solution to Climate Change?

11:30- 12:00  
Open forum
(Public Jurists represented by various sectors to make a resolution/ statement based  on their judgment on the issue)

12:00- 1:00    
Lunch break

1:00-   1:45     
Musical Play : If You Want to cultivate Peace, Protect Creation KALIPAYA

1:45-   2:30     
Pastoral Challenges of Papal Message “If you want to cultivate Peace, Protect Creation”                
Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo,DD”

2:30-  2:45    
Sharing of insights/ Feed Back from participants   
(group of 10)

2:45-  3:00     
Formulation of Conference Statement

3:00 - 3:45     
Press Conference 
Statement of the Jurists based on their findings on the Bt Eggplant 
By Bishop Pabillo, Fr. Tuazon, Sr. Aida, Farmers, Scientists Consumers, parish reps.

Break (sharing continues) 

3:20 -3:35     
Dance Musical Play    
LAUNCHING of book, “ Ecological Crisis, Our Responsibility” 
By Dr. Romulo S. Arsenio & Lou Valencia 

3:35- 4:15    
Conversion Reflection & Preparation for the concelebrated  Eucharistic            

4:15–  5:30 -   
Concelebrated Eucharistic Celebration  : 
Main Celebrant  Bishop Broderick S.  Pabillo, DD with 
Fr. Tuazon, other bishops and priests

  • Presentation of Conference Statement after Communion