3 bishops laud ‘simple’ Duterte

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PRESIDENT-ELECT Rodrigo R. Duterte got compliments from at least three Catholic bishops on Wednesday, when they described him as a simple person.

In a radio interview, Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao particularly lauded Duterte’s frugal inauguration at the Macalañan Palace when he takes oath as president on June 30.

“I am happy about the simple inauguration. We need to be simple even in our way of life,” Ongtioco told Radio Veritas. According to him, simplicity is one of the characters needed by a great leader. “Simplicity is an important value that we have to promote,” he added. Bishops Antonio Maralit of Boac, Marinduque, and Pedro Arigo of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, said Duterte’s simplicity offers a good example to Filipinos and fosters solidarity with the poor.Duterte’s transition team earlier said the inauguration would be just short and simple, with only around 600 invited guests.

Breaking several inauguration traditions, it will be held at the Palace’s Rizal ceremonial hall instead of the Quirino Grandstand, to avoid causing traffic jams or inconvenience to ordinary people.

Priest pins high hopes on Lopez as DENR chief

A Catholic priest known for his advocacy against irresponsible mining and climate change is hopeful there will be a stronger focus on the environment under Gina Lopez’s leadership. Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, said he is more optimistic how the next administration will perform in protecting the country’s natural resources.

“By appointing Gina Lopez, the incoming President [Rodrigo Duterte] clearly articulated the policy shift to sustainable green agenda,” said Gariguez, who received this year’s “environmental hero” award from the Jesuit-run Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City.

The priest said the appointment is a welcome development, considering that the incoming Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary is among the “champions” in caring for the earth. “That is truly the mandate of the DENR and not to promote mining in our ecologically threatened ecosystems,” said Gariguez, who was also among the recipients of the GAIA Awards at the Earth Day Jam 2016 in Manila.

He also expects a stronger collaboration not just between the government and the Church, but also with the civil-society organizations in opposing “environmentally destructive projects” and in “pursuing the agenda for climate justice.” Lopez on Tuesday accepted Duterte’s offer to head the DENR. CBCPNews

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