UCA News

Philippines

Filipino archbishop honored as 'hero of the environment'

Activist groups bestow Gawad Bayani ng Kalikasan award on Archbishop Sergio Utleg for anti-mining crusade

Mark Saludes, Manila

Mark Saludes, Manila

Updated: March 19, 2018 04:47 AM GMT
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Filipino archbishop honored as 'hero of the environment'

Archbishop Sergio Utleg of Tuguegarao leads a prayer during a visit to a tribal community in the province of Cagayan Valley. (Photo by Divine Nobis)

 

Share this article :
A Catholic archbishop in the Philippines has been named a "hero for the environment" for his strong advocacy against mining, especially in the northern part of the country.

The Gawad Bayani ng Kalikasan award was given to Archbishop Sergio Utleg of Tuguegarao for his "exemplary deeds and initiatives" to advance environmental protection.

The award is given to those who "serve as an example" in protecting the environment by activist groups led by the Center for Environmental Concerns.

"We honor the efforts of extraordinary environmental defenders who are fighting through various forms and capacities," said Owen Migraso, executive director of the organization.

The award recognized Archbishop Utleg's "passion, commitment, and integrity" to carry on his advocacy for the environment "amidst life-threatening circumstances."

"He is recognized for being a rock and foundation of pro-environment movements that successfully closed down illegal mining operations," said Migraso.

In a message read during the awarding ceremony, Archbishop Utleg said he was "sharing this award with all the people who stand for the protection of all creation, the promotion of human rights and the dignity of life."

Danggayan, an activist group in Cagayan nominated Archbishop Utleg for the award. "He is not just a good shepherd but also a fierce environment defender," said Isabelo Adviento, the group's leader.

Because of his advocacy, Archbishop Utleg has become the target of threats and intimidation. Last year, he was accused of being a communist rebel supporter.

The prelate, who became Archbishop of Tuguegarao in 2011, led opposition against four magnetite-mining operations in Cagayan Valley province.

In 2013, the archbishop championed a petition urging the government to revoke all permits allowing black sand mining in the country.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
 
Support UCA News

William J. Grimm, MM

Publisher

Union of Catholic Asian News

"As Pope Francis has said, we live not so much in an era of change as in a change of era. That is especially true in Asia and for the churches of Asia. UCA News is the dedicated, Asia-wide news and information service for the Church in Asia and we need your help to maintain the service."