By Leslie Ann Aquino
Caritas Philippines, the Diocese of San Carlos, and the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) have called on financial institutions to divest from coal and invest in renewable energy.
The call was issued at the launch of the “Malinis at Murang Kuryente” campaign in Manila on Thursday.
Father Edwin Gariguez, Caritas Philippines executive secretary, issued the call to financial institutions where the church’s development funds are deposited.
According to the group, finances play a crucial role in determining the policy direction of energy in our country.
San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, another supporter of the Malinis at Murang Kuryente, called on policymakers and financiers alike to consider the country’s untapped renewable energy potential not only because it is cheaper in the global market but it is also proven to provide clean, affordable electricity to consumers and communities, even in areas far from the reach of traditional energy sources.
“We, therefore, call on these banks to consider the environmental, social, and economic impacts brought about by their continued coal support,” he said.
“We call on large banking institutions to not only consider profitability, but also the ethics of their investments. In this era of civilization, the cry of the Earth is one with the cry of the poor: to abandon this path of death and destruction fuelled by fossil fuels, and deliver on the promise of clean and affordable energy for the people,” added Alminaza.
Bro. John Din of the GCCM, meantime, expressed hope that other dioceses and religious congregations will support their cause and issue the same call to financial institutions for greater impact.
“We have 85 or 86 dioceses…not to mention the religious organizations. So, imagine the power to pressure the banks to divest from coal,” he said.
“We have to divest together… if all congregations here, including the CBCP, act it’s such a big pressure,” added Din.
When asked regarding the call of Din, Bishop Alminaza said the bishops already tackled the divestment issue but has yet to come out with a common stand.
“There was a dialogue (among bishops) and we are just waiting for the right time to come out with a pastoral letter for greater impact,” he said.