Bishop Julito Cortes of Dumaguete reiterated his opposition to the city’s proposed 174-hectare reclamation project — calling it “morally wrong.”
“If it is morally wrong, then, it is incumbent for Christians and people of goodwill not to support such projects, structures, or systems,” Cortes said.
He made the statement Monday during the city council’s virtual session on the controversial P23-billion project, dubbed “Smart City”.
Speaking before the city legislators, the bishop anchored his presentation on Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si.
Cortes said the diocese opposes the project because of the “irreversible damage” the project could have on marine life.
He also raised “grave concerns” about the legality and the alleged corruption in the approval of the contract.
The bishop asked officials to stop “enticing the poor” with more promises to advance the reclamation project.
“The Church has long warned political and business leaders never to instrumentalize the poor in order to advance the selfish interests of the few,” Cortes said.
“It is a sin to abuse the poor to satisfy one’s greed,” he added.
The prelate then appealed for an end to “division and hurt” brought by the issue to the people.
“I appeal to you, honorable mayor and our city councilors, stop this, please! As the Italians say, ‘basta!’ Enough, enough!” he said.