Friends of Zamboanga Watersheds Movement (FZWM) Statement on the OCCASION OF WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE CARE OF CREATION | August 30, 2015

The Friends of Zamboanga Watersheds Movement (FZWM) welcomes the initiative of Pope Francis to designate September 1 annually as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. This is a sign of the times and an urgent need that the pope shares when he wrote his Encyclical on the care of our common home, Laudato Si’. In this encyclical letter, the pope emphatically stated the importance of giving attention to creation as it is continuously being exploited.
We therefore join this initiative and invite all to take this opportunity to pray for the care of our environment, our common home. Indeed, this is an urgent issue that calls religious and political leaders worldwide to move. The United Nations’ effort on calling world leaders to address this present challenge is concretized in its 21st session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris, France on November 30 to December 11 2015. The conference has for its objective the achievement, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, of a binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world.
It is said that Pope Francis published Laudato si’ intended, in part, to influence the conference. The encyclical calls for action against human-caused climate change. This Convention’s overarching goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global temperature increase to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, thereby targeting the lesser use of carbon emissions. The convention is one of the many examples of the principle, “Think Globally, Act Locally.” Members of FZWM, on their part, are now committed to save all of the six Zamboanga watersheds that are still in danger. It should be remembered that these six proposed watersheds are not yet officially proclaimed and are exposed to abuses of illegal logging, mining, quarries, and other unbecoming activities that undermine the respect and protection of the environment.
In line with this, we are concerned about the practice of some mining companies in the areas where mountains are left utterly naked and much worse, ravaged. It is very alarming to know that they don’t properly rehabilitate the area in accordance to the rules and regulations. In special way we can cite the example of Sitio Zambales, Brgy. Baluno, Zamboanga City where a big mining company was operating in the late 70s. In the early 80s, the company practically abandoned the area without an effort of rehabilitating it. The sight of a bare mountain is aggravated with the danger of an open pit, underground tunnels, and a tailing pond – all of which pose a great danger of a huge landslide and water contamination.
A group of FZWM members has recently visited and evaluated the damage in Sitio Zambales area. The destruction visibly increased due to the presence of small-scale mining groups in the area. Landslide and water contamination – these are the risks we are taking if we don’t do something about this issue.
These local examples are just part of the larger reality here in the Philippines. We are therefore urged to do something for the protection of God’s creation. We, the members of FZWM gathering in our regular meeting reflecting on this alarming situation here in Zamboanga City and in many other places in the country and the world, come together in solidarity with many others who genuinely care for the protection of the creation. Despite the many challenges ahead of us, we are encouraged to move and continue our dialogue with creation, to save our common home – the EARTH.

The Friends of Zamboanga Watersheds Movement is a group formed by Silsilah Dialogue Movement in partnership with many other groups and institution in Zamboanga City, committed to save the watersheds in Zamboanga City and work together to promote Dialogue with Creation.

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