Philippines bishops to pull plug on 'dirty' energy

An activist during a protest in Manila ( Saludes)

Catholic bishops in the Philippines have pledged to pull the plug on investing in "dirty energy" like coal-fired power plants. Source:

The decision was made during the prelates' biannual plenary that ended early this week.

Fr Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of the social action arm of the Catholic bishops' conference, said the bishops would instead place Church money in renewable sources of energy.

The priest, however, said it would be a long process because there were legal procedures that had to be followed.

Divesting from companies that produce dirty energy is one of the 10 action points presented by Fr Gariguez to the bishops as part of a campaign to promote the encyclical Laudato si'.

He said the Vatican has been asking Philippine church leaders what they had done in response to the challenge set by Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment.

"I told the bishops that we need to come up with a pastoral letter but it should be accompanied by action points because we need to 'walk the talk,'" said Father Gariguez. "We need concrete action in relation to the challenges of Laudato si.”

At least four bishops whose dioceses have investments in coal vowed to divest their funds immediately.

Early this year, learned that talks were underway for Catholic dioceses to withdraw their holdings in dirty energy, including investments in mining.

Several dioceses and religious congregations that used to have huge investments in oil and mining, including Manila Archdiocese, divested their shares as early as 2014.

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos, in the central Philippines, said there was a need to respond to the challenge of climate change with urgency.

The prelate revealed that the bishops' conference would release a pastoral letter that will present an assessment of the environmental situation "and some very concrete action points".

The Philippines is largely a coal-consuming country, with coal having the highest contribution to the power generation mix at 44.5 per cent in 2015, according to government data.


Philippine bishops to stop investing in 'dirty energy' (

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