The indigenous people of Puerto Princesa Vicariate (southern Philippines) recently planted some 2000 new trees on their land in the spirit of Pope Francis’ Encyclical “Laudato Si”.
Bishop Socrates Mesiona, who led the initiative, told Fides News Agency the work of plantation took two days and involved the villages of Sagpake’n and Bayog, part of the Vicariate which covers the Philippine island of Palawan. The goal of the endeavor, which will last a year, is to plant 10.000 trees in the protected area of Monte Mantalingahan, an area inhabited only by Indigenous locals.
“In the spirit of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’, we are all called to play our part to care for our common home”, said the Bishop, former National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Philippines. Mons. Mesiona is convinced that with the help of the Indigenous it will be possible to plant 10,000 new trees. The areas assigned for the plantation lie 700 meters above sea level and can be reached only by more than an hour’s trek through the jungle. Mons. Mesiona explains “it is more than a project for the environment, it serves also as a means of subsistence: for every tree planted the Indigenous receive 10 pesos “.
The head of the Indigenous community thanked the local Church for the project. In preparation for the actual plantation the Social Activity Centre of Puerto Princesa Vicariate, in cooperation with other civil society organisations, held an environmental awareness forum on the environment focussing on the relationship between God, Human Beings and Creation, from the Christian point of view, dwelling on the main points of the encyclical Laudato Si’.