Bishop calls for stop of ‘environmental abuse’ ahead of Yolanda anniversary

November 8, 2022 - 9:57 AM
A 2017 photo of a man standing amid the ruins of his house in Alangalang, Leyte, in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda (Interaksyon/file photo)

A Catholic bishop has called for an end to ‘environmental abuse’ ahead of the ninth anniversary of the deadly Typhoon Yolanda.

Citing experts, Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan said that many of the calamities that the world is facing are related to climate change.

“We must hear the poor cry of our planet for common action to save our common home,” Varquez said.

For this to happen, according to him, people must heed the call of Pope Francis for “ecological conversion”.

“We must move away from the sins of environmental abuse and neglect to show that we are truly returning to the Lord and we truly care for one another,” he said.

More than 6,000 people were killed by one of the world’s deadliest natural disasters that wiped out practically everything in its path as it swept ashore on Nov. 8, 2013.

Yolanda, known internationally as Haiyan, inflicted serious damage to several central Philippine provinces, with Leyte and Samar appearing to bear the brunt of the storm.

For the bishop, it was “a story of grief and sorrow for those who have lost their loved ones, of acceptance, of humility and redemption”.

The threats and challenges remain, he said, “but what we have are the lessons of the past, something we have learned, and by all means we have to sustain – continue educating ourselves, our young ones especially for they will be the ones who will bear the consequences of our decisions and actions of today”.

“For this commemoration, let us continue with binding hopefulness and solidarity in the face of so many challenges coming our way and be thankful to the Lord that we have risen from the horrible destruction that super typhoon Yolanda had brought,” Varquez said.

He also asked for continued prayers for people who died from the typhoon and for the survivors “that they may find comfort and strength in God to rebuild and move forward in their lives”.

“As we face an uncertain future let us continue to pray for deliverance from all calamities, both natural and man-made, and other vagaries of weather,” he said.