On the 24th of May 2015, Pope Francis promulgated “Laudato Si: On Care of our Common Home,” an encyclical that reminds us of our responsibility to care for our world and not steal resources from future generations. It speaks of the intrinsic value of all creatures, not just humans, and of protecting the climate and biodiversity as part of the common good.

Despite this papal reminder, human beings continue to destroy our environment, much more by our governments through state policies that are wanting of ecological preservation framework.  In the Philippines for instance, our archipelagic make-up as an island ecosystem is at risk with the influx of large scale mining projects. Extractives pose a threat to the integrity of creation as they require cutting of thousands of hectares of trees disturbing endemic flora and fauna, using of million cubic meters of freshwater at the expense of irrigations and household use, and displacing communities especially of indigenous peoples.

These threats became more imminent with government’s relaxed policies on mining. The imprimatur set by President Duterte on Executive Order No. 130 last April 14, 2021, which in effect lifts the moratorium on mining applications in the Philippines, was a kiss of death to the Philippine environment and what remains of its frontiers. Environmental plunder and disasters are now forthcoming with the last breaths of Mother Earth enduring only until its premature demise.

To address the call for care of our common home, the Advocacy Commission of the Davao Association of Catholic Schools is organized a training eventually  creating a pool of ecowarriors, composed of those who completed the training, who will staunchly speak of protection of our common home. This is held last September 3 and 4, via zoom.

The training was aimed at

  1. assessing, from the lens of Laudato Si, the Mindanao environment/ecology in the hands of extractive industries; and
  2. critically evaluating Philippine mining policies from the standpoint of environmental protection; and
  3. organizing a pool of eco-warriors who will carry on the duty to call for the care of our common home.

At the end of two days, a total of forty-one (41) warriors of and for the environment made a commitment to defend and protect the environment with the ability to listen to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth.  These ecowarriors are students, staff, teachers and administrators from DACS member schools in the region. The schools represented are: Assumption College of Davao, Assumption College of Nabunturan, Ateneo de Davao University, Holy Cross of Sasa College, Immaculate Heart of Mary Aacademy, Maryknoll College of Panabo, Our Lady of Fatima Academy of Davao, St. Michael’s School of Padada, St. Peter’s College of Toril, and Don Bosco Training Center – Mati.

In gratitude, the DACS Advocacy Commission expresses its thanks to all schools who responded to the call. The same gratefulness is extended to the Basid Education Commission, the Higher Education Commission, and the Board of Trustees of DACS for the unwavering support. 

The ecowarriors are set to meet again on September 30 to culminate the Season of Creation with a growth session and organizational planning.