Tuguegarao Archbishop Ricardo Baccay has called on the faithful in his archdiocese for a steadfast commitment to the care and protection of the Cagayan River and the environment.
The prelate said there is an urgent need for all to collaborate, to come up with viable short and long-term solutions, and to protect and care for our “common home” for the present and for generations to come.
“This includes the mighty Cagayan River, which is a significant part of our evangelization history, and the lifeblood of our local cultures,” Baccay said in an appeal letter released Tuesday.
The prelate said the catastrophic flooding caused by Typhoon Ulysses that affected the region last year was one of the worst they experienced in decades.
“Though there is a confluence of many different factors that led to this devastating event, we have to admit that we too, in the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao, Dioceses of Bayombong, Ilagan and Apostolic Vicariate of Tabuk, whether by commission or omission, have contributed to the problem,” said Baccay.
“Harmful chemical-based agriculture practices, illegal logging, and mining operations which includes off-shore mining, unregulated quarrying and careless dredging, are seen as culprits not only of the flooding but, in general, the global climate emergency we are in today,” he added.
Due to this, Baccay encouraged all to engage and support the implementation of the region-wide convergence initiative dubbed Missio 500.
“This aspires for the protection of the environment that is measurable, sustainable, and integral towards improving the quality of life for all Cagayanos and the welfare of our Valley home. It is an ecological advocacy that includes efforts to plant trees and support the security of the Cagayan River Basin,” he said.
“Your positive response to my humble appeal means a lot in our efforts to prevent devastating floods and similar calamities from occurring again in the future,” added Baccay.