Sr. Science Research Specialist, Chona M. Tura as she reads the message of ERDB Director Henry A. Adornado, Ph.D. during the launching of CACEC’s project “Advocacy and Education Campaign Against Plastic Pollution in Aquatic and Marine Ecosystems.”

The Cebu Archdiocesan Commission on Environmental Concerns (CACEC) inked a partnership with ERDB-CRERDEC for the implementation of its project titled “Advocacy and Education Campaign Against Plastic Pollution in Aquatic and Marine Ecosystems.”

The ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was done during the launching of the project was held on December 21, 2020 at the Filipiniana Hall of the Archbishop’s Residence in Cebu City. Signing in behalf of CACEC was no less than the Archbishop of Cebu himself, the most reverend, Jose S. Palma who emphasized the urgency of the project given the current environmental situation. This is also in response to the call of the Holy Pope Francis “to care for our common home” in his encyclical, laudatu si.

The advocacy project is a collaboration of various faiths such as the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (CJC-LDS) and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) with funding support coming from the Vriendscapsband Haarlemmermeer (VHC).

ERDB Director Henry A. Adornado who was not able to join the event has pre-signed the MOA with the CRERDEC Center Head, Dr. Alicia L. Lustica as witness. In his message read by Sr. Science Research Specialist, Chona M. Tura, Dr. Adornado pointed out the “gravity of the problem of plastic pollution”.

Plastic wastes that are unmindfully disposed of find its ways into rivers and end up into the ocean where they smother corals, suffocate marine mammals, and entangle turtles and birds. Worse are its derivatives, the microplastics. They are mistaken as planktons and thus ingested by fishes and bivalves. They could bioaccumulate and could end up into the food chain, harming humans as the ultimate consumers.”

Director Adornado further emphasized that these problems can affect everybody wherever they are since oceans don’t have boundaries and plastics travel wherever oceans flow. It is in this regard that a collective action is very necessary.

This advocacy and education campaign project of CACEC is also an inter-faith response to DENR 7-led rehabilitation of the Mahiga River, one of the major rivers traversing the cities of Cebu and Mandaue. It aims to deepen understanding of the stakeholder communities along the Mahiga River on the importance of the river and the need to rehabilitate it through an eco-spiritual formation — believing that advocacy and education campaigns should be much deeper than the level of the mind. It should touch the core of a human being — the heart and spirit.

Signing of a “Pledge of Commitment” by members of the interfaith group and other stakeholders was one of the highlights of the event. VHC’s country coordinator and Cebu City Councilor, Hon. Alvin M. Dizon commended the collaborative undertaking. He believes that this is much needed to help solve the problem on plastic wastes that is one of the major culprits clogged drainage systems that cause flooding in the downstream areas of Cebu City.

Archbishop Palma encouraged the stakeholders to dream together for our common home. In his words, “a dream we dream alone will remain a dream. But when we dream together as a community, a new reality begins.” Joselito T. Sumabat, CRERDEC