Faith and science converged during the culmination of the Season of Creation 2020 at Divina Pastora Gymnasium last October 11. Participants from the SJCBI community, various Christian churches, and the LGU Baggao gathered together to close the event. They were all treated to an afternoon of spiritual meditation and scientific insights as a fruit of the month-long celebration of prayer and action for the care of our common home.
Rev. Dave Christian Remudaro led the ecumenical service at the start of the program. Jesus Christ Flock Pastor Christopher Victorio set a prayerful mood by sharing prophet Jeremiah’s word in his reflection when he joined an ecological hike at the Seven-step Falls in Asassi last September 4.
“Mapalad ang mga taong nagtitiwala sa Panginoon, at ang pag-asa ay ang Panginoon. Sapagkat siya ay parang punongkahoy na tinanim sa tabi ng tubig at nag-uugat sa tabi ng ilog, at hindi matatakot kung ang init ay dumadating, kundi ang kanyang dahon ay mananatiling sariwa, at hindi mababalisa sa panahon ng tag-tuyot o mapipigilan man sa pamumunga,” read the religious leader.
The head of the Bible Believing Community reminded that man should put his trust on God and not on his fellowman.
“Mapalad ang taong nagtitiwala sakanya, ngunit ang taong nagtitiwala sa kaperahas niyang tao ay sinusumpa ng Diyos. Bakit? Dahil gusto ng Diyos, lahat ng tao ay umasa sakanya. Ang Diyos ay hindi nagbabago ngunit ang tao ay pwedeng magbago. Ang Panginoon kailanman ay hindi napapako, ngunit ang tao kapag nangako minsan napapako,” Victorio said.
“Apart from God, we are nothing. Kung tayo ay hindi nakakapit sa Panginoon, wala tayong kayang gawin. Ang Diyos na makapangyarihan sa lahat, kung tayo ay magtitiwala saknya at i-aasa natin lahat sakanya, lahat ng ating gagawin ay unti-unting magtatagumpay,” he added.
Mr. Frederic Franz Tomas, Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer, spoke about man’s accountability in God’s creation.
“[Our] environmental principle states that nature is beautiful and we are stewards of God’s creation. God gave us a beautiful earth for us to use, for us to enjoy and for us to take care of. God gave us the mission to be stewards of this creation,” Tomas said.
The MENRO Designate challenged society’s response to the widespread degradation of nature.
“[What] have we done? We used irresponsibly and abused the earth’s resources. We have polluted the earth’s air, lands and waters with toxins. We have killed millions of species… All of these are known as ecological backlash. We have devalued human life, and we have loved progress more than our common home… We failed to meet God’s expectation,” the environmentalist stated.
Mayor Joan Dunuan also led that afternoon to celebrate the first anniversary of the Billion Tree Planting and Growing Project, an attempt to attain a greener Baggao and instill a spirit of stewardship among stakeholders.
“Today, as I am trying to check on the one-year accomplishment we just tried to give, sinabi ko sa sarili ko, sa tingin ko hindi man 100% na naging successful… Isa lang ang gusto kong sabihin, we have done something, and that something is [good]… and alam kong meron at merong kagandahan ang idudulot nito. Hindi man natin ramdam sa buong taon ang epekto ng ginawa natin, mararamdaman at mararamdaman natin ang [epekto]. And so that made me believe…that the launching of this Billion Tree Planting and Growing Project is a success,” the mayor said in her closing remarks.
The title of this project, she said, is not only to catch the attention of stakeholders and to encourage them to join this advocacy but also to set a life-time and purpose-driven goal. She wanted to bring back Baggao’s green aerial view, in contrast to the brown-colored rivers and mountains.
Town’s lady chief informed the delegates that 85% of the forest cover of the town is already lost. She believed that this project, pegged for three years, will translate into the restoration and conservation of natural resources and allow ecological balance for sustainability.
“There are only about 18% – 19% na lang apo iti forest cover tayu,” warned Dunuan.
Houses and properties will likely be inundated if people would not cooperate in caring for the environment, according to the Mayor. She believed that San Jose would go underwater first, followed by Poblacion and Asassi. She noted that Baggao’s sea level is higher than its land surface.
The lineup of the Season of Creation 2020 activities in Baggao include Ecowalk, Ecorosary, Synchronized Clean up Drive, Malunggay Planting, Bamboo Planting, Community Gardening, etc. Through the symbolism of the Tree of Green Thumb, the participants made an Act of Commitment to continue being stewards of creation and to protect, nurture and conserve the environment.
The Season of Creation 2020, which usually ends October 4 (Feast of St. Francis of Assisi), has extended by a week to October 11 in the Philippine Church. The initiative is organized by the Global Catholic Climate Movement – Pilipinas (GCCM Pilipinas), supported by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
by Reagan Q. De Leon