Two Catholic religious workers were feted on separate occasions last week for their environmental advocacies, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said.
Last March 17, Jesuit-run Xavier University bestowed a Doctor in Humanities, honoris causa, on Fr. Edwin Gariguez for his efforts to protect the environment and indigenous peoples.
Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, had battled a nickel mine in Mindoro to protect its biodiversity and indigenous people, the CBCP news site said.
He received the award and delivered the keynote address during Xavier University’s graduation rites in Cagayan de Oro City.
“The vocation you have patiently and perseveringly pursued in the peripheries has truly been serving the faith that does justice and ecological stewardship,” Fr. Roberto Yap, university president, said in a letter to Gariguez.
Yap added Gariguez, a native of Mindoro, is a “true activist and scholar” for the IPs and the environment.
In 2012, Gariguez received the Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest award for grassroots environmental activists.
He also led an 11-day hunger strike with some Mangyans and activists to protest operations of Norwegian mining firm Intex in 2009.
Meanwhile, Brother Jaazeal Jakosalem of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects received a Green Ring Award for his “Outstanding Work Towards Solving the Climate Crisis.”
He received the award from former US Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore, founder of The Climate Reality Project (TCRP), last March 16 in Pasay City.
Jakosalem was recognized for his grassroots work for climate change education. He joined Gore’s TCRP training in Beijing in 2010.
Jakosalem and his allies pushed for the 850,000-Catholic climate change petition for COP21 in 2015.