500 Years of Christianity Countdown

The Catholic Church inaugurates today the solar PV systems in three pilot sites – Home for the Clergy, Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, and Our Lady of Peñafrancia Minor Seminary – in the Diocese of Sorsogon.

“This historic event is our concrete response to Pope Francis’ call to care for our common home, as articulated in the encyclical, Laudato Si, and to the Philippine’s Renewable Energy Act of 2008” Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, NASSA/Caritas Philippines’ National Director, expressed during the inauguration.

NASSA/Caritas Philippines, The social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), initiated the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement with WeGen Distributed Energy Phils., Inc. in March 2018 to install and operate solar power systems, battery energy storage facilities, and software with no cash-out requirement, to churches, church facilities and buildings, schools and off-grid communities.

The inauguration and ceremonial switch-on was witnessed by more than 500 priests, religious and lay persons from all over Bicol Region attending the 3rd Bicol Priests Congress. According to Sorsogon Bishop Arturo M. Bastes, “this is a clear message to everyone that the Church is serious in its energy campaign, amidst the failings of the government to fully implement the renewable energy law.”

According to the Department of Energy data, the Philippines is yet to realize its goal of doubling the installed renewable energy capacity of the Country ten years after the enactment of the law.

With the partnership, least 43, out of 85 dioceses are now in the process of installing and fully utilizing solar PV systems to augment and later minimize dependence from private electric power distributors. Sarge Sarmiento, WeGen CEO said that “WeGen is humbled to be an instrument and partner of the Church in accelerating our country’s transition to renewable energy marked by energy democratization, and so to realize our shared vision of eradication of energy poverty towards social transformation.”

“We always consider coal as energy source to be dirty and destructive. Now we have a better alternative which in a way balances power. From private energy providers monopolizing trade and supply, we now let communities claim their prophetic power to light up their houses from a common source that is renewable and clean,” states Fr. Edwin A. Gariguez, Executive Secretary of NASSA/Caritas Philippines.

NASSA/Caritas Philippines is the humanitarian, development and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. It is serves as secretariat to the 85 diocesan social action centers in the country and represents the Philippines to the global confederation of Catholic charities – Caritas Internationalis.

Rowel Garcia

By Rowel Garcia

Rowel Garcia Disaster Coordinator