Task Force Detainees of the Philippines
Protect our common home, unite towards ecological justice!
Other campaigns
Tuesday, 01 September 2015 13:30

August 31, 2015

Protect our common home, unite towards ecological justice!

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?”[1]

By the way current and dominant systems and attitudes stand, faith without actions might not be enough to save individuals, but the planet in its entirety as well.

Primarily driven by climate change, an ecological crisis is manifesting itself through extreme weather events, droughts, ocean acidification, and food and water crisis. Such was reflected in the unities made in the National Conference on the Integrity of Creation last July 29-31 in Manila.  This re-echoes Pope Francis’ call and Encyclical “Laudato Si” for a new, universal solidarity to address our urgent task to protect our common home.

In response to these pressing realizations, we, members of the Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement, representing the growing faith-based movements and networks within the country and across the globe in the fight for climate justice, enjoin people of all faiths and beliefs to share in the collective responsibility of addressing the ecological crisis.

Amid the numerous impacts primarily being experienced by the poor and most vulnerable people in different countries, there is not a more opportune time than now in acting and standing against a system that utilizes and promotes the exploitation of natural and environmental resources for it to survive. Allowing this system of exploitation to continue only disparages the integrity of all creation and widens the gap between the rich and the poor, instead of encouraging compassion and cooperation.

It is in this light that we acknowledge and declare climate change, including all acts of environmental destruction and exploitation that come along with and as a result of it, as a crosscutting issue that transcends religion, culture, science, and politics. As we ready ourselves for the battle for our common home before us, we call on everyone to prepare and put on a full armor that will enable us to stand and not lose hope in this decisive fight.

The belt of moral, historical and scientific truths

The ecological and climate crisis not only requires our faith-based responses but also a science-driven discourse as well. Instead of contradicting each other, empirical data has supported and complemented what our faith has taught us to do: become good and caring stewards of all creation or face dire consequences.

According to the 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report, more people will become poorer because of climate impacts, particularly its effects on agriculture. Armed with this knowledge, it is utterly irresponsible and immoral, to turn a blind eye to the cry of the poor which is now one with the cry of the earth.

The window for keeping global temperature to prevent catastrophic effects – below 1.5 degrees – is rapidly closing. If current trends and carbon emissions continue, the planet is destined for a 4°C or even 5°C rise in global average temperatures. The potential consequences of this temperature rise are unimaginable, considering the various impacts being experienced right now with a 0.8°C increase in temperature.

Upon knowing these truths, it is imperative that immediate actions and efforts be undertaken in order to generate an alternative future that is far from the grim picture being predicted and presented to us.

The breastplate of moral righteousness and social justice

The fight for climate justice is not merely an act of kindness or goodwill. It is our moral obligation to ensure that no rights are trampled upon and no duty is forgotten. We must take it upon ourselves the valiant task of securing and protecting people’s right to energy, to sufficient, healthy, and appropriate food, water, and livelihood, and to the security of possessions and homes from climate impacts.

This task enjoins that local, national, and international institutions to fulfill their roles and duties to the people. Transparency and accountability, especially in the area of finance, are crucial in transforming our market-oriented and profit-driven system into a people-centered and poor-friendly system that exhibits the concept of common good.

This task also means building climate-resilient and stronger communities to protect the most vulnerable members of our society who do not have the means and the ways to adapt to the changing climate by themselves. Strengthening adaptation measures are more than charity; they are the means by which we safeguard the lives and rights of all people regardless of their social and economic status. Their protection rests in our hands as a movement and as members of the same human race.

With private and transnational corporations continuously neglecting this notion of common good, it should nowe become our common responsibility to remind them that the earth and its resources are finite and therefore, more sustainable practices and means to meet all people’s needs must be employed.

The shield of faith

The enormity in scale of the fight for climate justice is less frightening when viewed through the lens of faith. No matter how ambitious or bold our intentions and actions may seem, we are still emboldened to speak out and act in the belief that in these collective voices and actions will our faith be made full.

Every victory, no matter how small or short-term, leads us closer and closer to the ultimate goal of transforming the system that is currently ushering us towards catastrophic climate change. It is in these little victories that we gather the hope and encouragement we need that will enable us to fight the good fight of faith and finish the race.

This global crisis is as much a spiritual crisis as it is an environmental and political crisis. As an inter-faith movement, it is only fair and just that we humbly recognize and acknowledge the faults and failures that we have committed to the environment as well. It is by beginning with genuine repentance and desire for change will we be able to achieve authentic ecological conversion that will be by all and for all, and produce the fruit of love for the environment and our fellow creations.

Protect our common home, unite towards ecological justice!

Armed with these necessary tools, the Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement boldly urges relevant institutions of all creeds and all countries to unite towards a renewed appreciation of our common role as stewards of the environment and keepers of our neighbors.

We enjoin the people of developed countries of the North to heed the call of the brothers and sisters in the developing South: to base their commitment to cut emissions and fund climate justice efforts on a centralized, historically-responsible assessment of their vast contributions to the ecological crisis.

We enjoin the Philippine government to side and stand in solidarity with the poor, vulnerable communities it claims to represent. It must not use the faith and resilience of character Filipinos have to justify its shortcomings in responding to their need for food, land, water and livelihood, as well as just adaptation measures.

The Philippine government must also be the leader in holding developed countries accountable for their environmental faults, not settling for loans and rhetoric but just reparations for the damage the country continually sustains.

Finally, we demand all governments of the world, as well as international funding institutions to stop investing on fossil fuels and begin the transition to a more sustainable, more ecologically-responsible and socially just renewable energy system.

The path to deliverance always begins with the admission of faults, justice and a renewed paradigm. This is also true in the context of ecological justice. Whether in small acts in our community or in the systemic ways of life we utilize as nations and as a species: our beliefs, our faith must reflect in our actions. Through this, we preserve not only our own integrity, but the integrity of the rest of creation.

Protect our common home!
Preserve the integrity of creation!
Unite towards ecological justice now!

Fr. Dexter Toledo
ECOJIM Chairperson

[1] James 2:14 New International Version.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 September 2015 13:34
Environmental groups slams mining confab, launches week-long activity against mining
On Mining
Wednesday, 16 September 2015 18:08

Environmental groups slams mining confab, launches week-long activity against mining

Photo by ATM

Environmental advocates headed by Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) once again called for the protection of the environment against the destructive impacts of mining through a prayer rally and candle lighting activity in Plaza Raja Sulayman , on September 15, Tuesday, along Roxas Boulevard.

The prayer rally which is just a jump-starter for the coalition’s bi-annual week-long actions according to its National Coordinator Jaybee Garagnera, is the group’s welcome gesture to the participants of Mining Philippines 2015 Conference and Exhibitions currently being held at Solaire Resort & Casino Manila.

“It’s the time of the year where the Chamber of Mines in the Philippines (COMP) has once again opened our country for auction to the plunderers of our natural mineral resources.” says Garganera.

“As COMP welcomes the mining industry players including investors and mining firms, we want to make an equal effort to stress that our country is not for sale and our environment has suffered enough degradation and plundering from the extractive industry.” he added.

The prayer rally and candle lighting activity entitled DASAL PARA SA INTEGRIDAD NG BUHAY AT EKOLOHIYA (Prayer for the Integrity of life and creation) was attended by environmentalists and activists who are pushing advocacies and reforms against the current mining policies and situation in the country.

“Our activity is an answer to his Holiness Pope Francis’ call for integrity of creation.” says Garganera.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 September 2015 18:21
Golden treasures of a tormented land
Y4R activities
Monday, 07 June 2010 11:47


“Gintong Yaman ng Sinirang Bayan” is a satirical play about dreams, lives and relationships of families in a community in Northern Luzon that is being affected by the impending mining operation in the area.

The play is set in a barrio in Nueva Vizcaya during the course of a foreign mining company’s application in the province. The residents of the community find themselves with differing stands and opinions regarding the mining operation which poses to offer the residents with a golden opportunity.


Ruben, in his search for the golden dream and his quest to make it big, grabbed the scholarship grant from the mining company, much to his mother’s dismay.  Other inhabitants of the community engage themselves in heated debates regarding the positive and negative effects the mining operation will bring.  

Ruben must decide.  Will he go after his golden dream despite the disapproval of his loved ones and the destruction of his native land?  What is the truth behind his father’s death and what will its implication be on Ruben’s decision?

Last Updated on Monday, 07 June 2010 12:08
Urgent Appeal: The harassment of Shirley Lape, farmer beneficiary under CARP and member of a farmer's organization in Barangay Tala, San Andres, Quezon
General Campaigns
Thursday, 15 October 2015 15:55

October 12, 2015

(PHILIPPINES) The harassment of Shirley Lape, farmer beneficiary under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and member of Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Barangay Tala at Camflora in Sitio Cabulihan, Barangay Tala, San Andres, Quezon

ISSUES: Right not to be deprived of means of subsistence; Land Rights; Access to Justice

Dear friends,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) writes to inform you about the harassment of Shirley Lape, farmer beneficiary under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and member of Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Barangay Tala at Camflora in Sitio Cabulihan, Barangay Tala, San Andres, Quezon.


On August 13, 2015, Shirley Lape, an agrarian reform beneficiary, active member and farmer – leader of Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Barangay Tala at Camflora, and resident of Sitio Cabulihan, Barangay Tala, San Andres, Quezon, was preparing breakfast when Edwin Ausa arrived. Ausa claims that he is the owner of the land that Lape grows and harvests copra from.

Ausa shouted at Lape and asked her why she is not giving him a portion of her income. Lape asked him why she needed to give him a portion of her income when the land is considered as timberland. Ausa asserted that he owns the land, but Lape countered him. Ausa then threatened her and said that she might suffer the same fate as Elisa Tulid’s if she refused to pay him. Ausa even added that if Lape did not do what was asked of her, Ausa himself would take away their share of coconuts.

On 1999, Lape filed for possession of land in DENR, until the present, Lape and other farmers are still fighting for their claim.

Sometime on October 2013, a week after the killing of Elisa Tulid, Lape with Nelson Fuentes and a certain Severino was also allegedly harassed and threatened by the same Edwin Ausa.

Ausa’s alleged threat was in relation to the killing of Elisa Tulid on October 19, 2013 that was the result of an ongoing land dispute in the said area. Like Lape, Tulid was an active member of Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Barangay Tala at Camflora, and was one of those who actively spoke in defense of the residents’ and farmers’ claim to the land. She was shot multiple times and killed on the spot in front of her husband and then four year old daughter.

There is a persistent agrarian conflict in Bondoc Peninsula where San Andres, Quezon is located, where almost 80 percent of households depend on subsistence farming mainly banana and coconut mono cropping as well as fishing.

Domingo Reyes, one of the main landholders in Bondoc Peninsula currently owns 12,000-16,000 hectares of land in three municipalities. Farmers have been in a 60-40 contract with the Reyes, with 60% of total harvest going to Reyes, while the 40% goes to the tenants, who also have to cover the production expenses.

In 2004, farmers and tenants finally petitioned the government for coverage under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). The farmers working on Reyes’ lands started boycotting the 60-40 agreement share after they learned from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that portion of the lands claimed by Reyes are declared public and certified timberland.

It has been alleged by some testimonies that Edwin Ausa and Rannie Bugnot are supporters of Reyes’ clan and have been trying to instill fear in the communities to prevent them from claiming their land rights.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 October 2015 15:57
Human rights essential to democracy – UN Expert
Human Rights Defenders' Activities
Friday, 03 December 2010 18:23
3 December 2010

Human rights essential to democracy – UN Expert

December 2 , Manila -- The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, yesterday urged governments in Asia to recognize and protect persons working on human rights issues as “essential” to building democracy.

Sekaggya said, “human rights play an indispensable role in the defense of democracy” as she observed that democracy is at a cross roads in many countries in the region, where the military and conservative parties are making a comeback.

Ms Sekaggaya is in Manila in an unofficial capacity to participate in a regional forum of human rights defenders from 2 to 4 December, in which some 100 human rights activists from 16 countries in Asia are participating.

The UN independent expert from Uganda explained that “criticism and dissent are the lifeblood of a healthy democratic society.”
Last Updated on Saturday, 04 December 2010 14:49
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