Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Aquino government has 'no right' to mark Earth Day
Manila activists cite easing of mining restrictions and culture of impunityActivists march in protest in Manila
- ucanews.com reporter, Manila
- April 22, 2013
Environmental activists today marked International Earth Day with protest actions around the country to expose "ecological destructions," including those allegedly caused by US military activities in the region.
"It is not coincidental that these environmental disasters have become more frequent ever since the US military intensified its activities in the Asia-Pacific," said youth activist Terry Ridon.
He said US military activities have "directly caused several major faux pas" including the toxic waste dumping of a US ship in Subic Bay and the grounding of a US military warship in the protected Tubbataha Reef National Park.
"These transgressions against our sovereignty and our environment should not be interpreted as isolated cases," Ridon said.
"[The Aquino administration] allowed foreign vessels to destroy significant areas of coral reefs in Tubbataha, not once but twice, and seems bent on letting the culprits off the hook," said Clemente Bautista Jr, national coordinator of Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment.
A Chinese fishing vessel also ran aground on Tubbatha two weeks ago, causing huge damage to marine life at the world heritage site.
Hundreds of environmental activists marched in Metro Manila today and denounced the government's attempt to join the international commemoration of Earth Day.
"Hypocritical," said Redemptorist priest Oliver Castor, advocacy officer of the Philippine Misereor Partnership, a partnership between NGOs, people’s organizations and church groups in the Philippines, and Misereor, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Germany.
Castor said the recent lifting of the moratorium on new mining applications further discredited the government.
"The government is hell bent on allowing the wholesale extraction of our minerals even if it will compromise our natural resources and the lives of our fellow Filipinos,” he said.
Leon Dulce of the group Task Force Justice for Environmental Defenders said the government has also failed to curb "state-sponsored impunity towards environmental activists."
Not a single case from the at least 66 recorded killings of environmental advocates has been resolved. A total of 26 killings of environmental activists were registered since Aquino came to power in 2010.
Prominent environmental activists killed in the past three years include broadcaster Gerry Ortega, botanist Leonard Co, and Italian missionary priest Pops Tentorio.