Sendong survivors to join Earth Day protest

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/18 Apr) – Survivors of tropical storm Sendong, who have organized themselves into a collective for peer support, will teem this city’s streets next week as the group plans to launch a three-day mass action in commemoration of the 42nd Global Earth Day on April 22.

In a phone interview Tuesday, Aldeem Yañez, media liaison of Balsa Mindanao, said the highlight of this year’s Earth Day, which falls on a Sunday, will be the simultaneous reading of a unified ecumenical statement of four of the biggest religious denominations in the city.

Yañez said Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma; Bishop Felixberto Calang of the Archdiocese of Misamis Oriental-Bukidnon-Camiguin (IFI-Mobuca) of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente; Bishop Melzar Labuntog, of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP)-Northwest Mindanao; and District Supervisor Samuel Domingo, of the United Methodist Church, are currently drafting a unified ecumenical statement on the occasion of this year’s Earth Day.

“On April 22, this statement will be read simultaneously in the four denominations’ church pulpits and will be included in their homilies and sermons,” he said.

Yañez said the three-day mass action will open with a concert of local artists dubbed, “Jam for Mother Earth,” in the afternoon of April 20 at Iligan City Plaza. Balsa Mindanao is an island-wide, citizen-led mobilization for disaster response and climate justice.

After their all-leaders’ meeting here Tuesday afternoon, Survivors of Sendong Alliance (SOS Alliance) chair Rhodora Bulosan said the group will march from D.V. Soria Plaza to Gaston Park on Saturday, April 21.

“The group targets 10,000 participants from Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities. We will reiterate our call to say ‘no’ to another Sendong and (we) oppose (the) monopoly corporations’ plunder of our Earth,” said Bulosan.

Together with support from civil society and sectoral organizations, environmental groups and human rights advocates, Bulosan said they will hold a program of “prayers and songs for the Earth” in D.V. Soria Plaza, after which their contingent will march to Gaston Park to link-up with the Archbishop Ledesma-led prayer rally. (Cong B. Corrales / MindaNews)