Press Release re Save Sierra Madre Day 2014
Elizabeth Carranza – 0920-9684982
Environmental Group Summons All to Save Sierra Madre
September 27, 2014 – Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance (SSMNA) Inc. summons every Filipino to seriously take action in saving Sierra Madre. In a joint commemoration of the 5th anniversary of Typhoon Ondoy and the celebration of Save Sierra Madre Day yesterday, the group strongly put across their call to SAVE SIERRA MADRE NOW!
Upon the persistent recommendation of SSMNA, President Aquino declared September 26 as Save Sierra Madre Day in 2011 in his Presidential Proclamation No. 233 and every year since 2012 in a Presidential Proclamation No. 413. The date has been chosen by SSMNA as its members believe that the Ondoy tragedy of September 26, 2009 is primarily because of the degraded condition of Sierra Madre.
The Sierra Madre Mountain Range is home to one of the last remaining prime forests in our country. For generations, it has supplied clean drinking water and food to countless communities and provided irrigation to thousands of hectares of farms and agricultural lands. The forests of Sierra Madre are so vital that if it is lost, it will mean the destruction of many critical watersheds and ecosystems of the entire Island of Luzon.
Since Save Sierra Madre Day of this year falls on a Friday, SSMNA’s annual celebration of the event was in the form of a Eucharistic Celebration (Holy Mass) held at Quiapo Church. “The celebration is meant to awaken in our hearts that the wounds of the Suffering Black Nazarene and the Suffering Earth are one,” explained Elizabeth Carranza, chairperson of SSMNA. The celebration of the Holy Mass was presided by Bishop Roberto Mallari, one of the Sierra Madre bishops - Bishop of the Diocese of San Jose, Nueva Ecija. Seven priests from different Dioceses of Sierra Madre and Metro Manila concelebrate the mass with the Bishop. “Through this year’s celebration of Save Sierra Madre Day, we summon all Filipino people to integrate in our spirituality, especially in our Friday devotion to the Black Nazarene, our devotion to the care of creation and to save our dear Mother Earth, our dear Sierra Madre from all destructive activities threatening and endangering Her life and the lives of all creatures, including us, whose well-being depends on Her well-being,” added Carranza.
“Ang Sierra Madre Day ay isang pagdiriwang ng pasasalamat dahil pinagkalooban tayo ng napakagandang regalo ng kalikasan, lalo na ang napakahabang kabundukan ng Sierra Madre (Sierra Madre Day is a celebration of thanksgiving because we have been given the beautiful gift of creation, particularly the very long Mountain Range of Sierra Madre),” Bishop Mallari emphasized in his homily.
“Dapat ngang ipagdiwang at ipagpasalamat natin ang napakalaking biyayang ito ngunit dapat din matanto natin na ang Save Sierra Madre Day ay isa ring panawagan na magkaisa tayo, pag-isahin ang ating mga puwersa at lakas upang iligtas ang Sierra Madre laban sa lahat ng sumusira nito pati na ang mga mapanirang pagkilos o proyekto sa loob ng kagubatan at tubig-kanlungan na ginagawa daw sa ngalan ng kaunlaran (We truly have to celebrate and be grateful for this grandiose gift but we also need to realize that Save Sierra Madre Day is also a call for us to be united, to unite our forces and strength to save Sierra Madre from those who are destroying it including the activities and projects within its forests and watersheds which are being implemented in the name of development) ,” Mallari also stressed.
The event was highlighted by the presence of the Krus ng Sierra Madre, an icon made out of scattered drift woods from the Sierra Madre to symbolize the degradation and devastation of the aforementioned Mountain Range, which has been in pilgrimage throughout the provinces traversed by the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, including Metro Manila, from April to September of 2012.
Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance accentuate their call to SAVE SIERRA MADRE NOW through a signature campaign against the construction of Kaliwa Dam, Laiban Dam, Kanan Dam, Agos Dam, Sumag Diversion Project, and the Sierra Madre Water Corporation Multi-River Hydropower cum Bulk Water Project within the watershed areas of Northern Quezon, Rizal, and Laguna. -end-