A Catholic priest, who has waged years’ of battle against a nickel mine in a call to protect Mindoro Island’s biodiversity and its indigenous people, received an “environmental hero” award Thursday.
Jesuit-run Xavier University bestowed a Doctor in Humanities, honoris causa, on Fr. Edwin Gariguez for his sustained and significant efforts to protect the environment and indigenous peoples.
Fr. Roberto Yap, university president, said Gariguez’s ministry is an inspiring response to Pope Francis challenge “to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”
Xavier University organized an inter-university Ecological Reflection to recall and reflect on the generosity of the environment and to help translate our gratitude into concrete actions and interventions that will help sustain our environment.
During the process, we were asked to share our individual refection on re-establishing relationship with nature. The workshop focused on the ‘Laudato Si’ document stressing on “inner peace [as] closely related to care for ecology and for the common good because, lived out authentically, it is reflected in a balanced lifestyle together with a capacity for wonder which takes us to a deeper understanding of life” (par.225).
Xavier Science Foundation (XSF) has a project supported by the US Embassy in Manila called Women Education for Cooperative Advancement and Rural Enterprise (WE CARE). The project has just graduated close to a hundred women from different cooperatives in the areas of Lanao del Norte and Bukidnon. In its second phase, it continues to help women start up their own businesses by utilizing local resources and engaging the greater community. XSF brought the awareness of WE CARE to the community in Miarayon during a K-12 senior high school orientation for the parents. Among the key features of the K-12 Senior High School Program are its Technology Livelihood Education and Technical-Vocational Livelihood, which includes agriculture.
Stewardship for Mother Nature requires a multi-sectoral cooperation, thereby Xavier University frontlines an environmental movement designed to propel communities to engage in a sustainable mechanism ensuring the recuperation of our forest resources in Northern Mindanao. XU sets to launch the region-wide environmental platform dubbed as Valuing Ecosystem Services Together (VEST) on November 4-7 at the Activity Center of Centrio Mall.
Part of this green endeavor is to mainstream the principles of VEST. With this idea, the XU core team has organized a slew of activities to raise awareness and encourage Kagay-anons to participate in the fund drive to reforest Mt Kalatungan and reward the efforts of the indigenous people community as the forest managers.