Thank you, Leo, said Philippine environmentalists.
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – Filipino indigenous peoples’ rights advocates and environmental activists lauded actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s acceptance speech in the 88th Academy Awards, calling for global action on climate change.
“Thank you for talking about the need to protect our environment, for acknowledging that man can only survive if he lives in harmony with nature,” said Sr. Ma. Famita N. Somogod MSM, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region coordinator.
Di Carpio, who won Best Actor for his lead role in the film The Revenant, said in his acceptance speech: “Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.”
This is not the first time that DiCaprio has spoken on the issue of climate change. In 2014, he appeared before the United Nations on the issue of climate change and to push for renewable energy. He said, “I’m honored to be here today, I stand before you not as an expert but as a concerned citizen, one of the 400,000 people who marched the streets of New York on Sunday, and the billions of others around the world who want to solve our climate crisis.”
And the Oscar for Best Actor goes to… Leonardo DiCaprio!
Posted by ABC Television Network on Sunday, February 28, 2016
For Bro. Ciriaco Santiago III, co-convener of the Scrap the Mining Act of 1995 Network, DiCaprio’s “strong words” should be heeded by electoral candidates who should stand for the environment and national patrimony.
“It is very timely for us to reflect and respond to, specially after 21 years of plunder of our resources and destruction of our lands as facilitated by the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. We call on candidates to take Leonardo DiCaprio’s position and act upon our concrete and legitimate demands,” Santiago said.
The Scrap Mining Act Network is calling for the repeal of the said law, which will commemorate its 21st year on March 3.
Sr. Somogod said they are happy that some celebrities have taken up the task of raising issues that affect the larger part of humanity and have “chosen to defend the environment instead of encouraging its devastation through mindless consumption and extravagance promoted in the culture of today.”
“In another breath, we wish to express our dismay over our own government. That even as our country faces a challenging period in the wake of climate change, our government has refused to take the side of the poor communities who have the most difficulty in recovering from any disaster,” she added.
Sr. Somogod said the government, in the guise of going after armed rebel groups, has dislocated civilians and indigenous communities as the latter fight against the entry of plundering companies into their ancestral domains and had consequently been branded enemies of the state.
Today, March 1, some 3,000 Lumad evacuees are exactly on their sixth month of stay at the Provincial Sports Complex in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur, where they evacuated following the brutal killing of a school director and two tribal leaders in plain sight of the entire community, including children.
Human rights group Karapatan has documented thousands of indigenous peoples fleeing from their communities due to heavy militarization in their area.
Sr. Somogod said, “Mr. DiCaprio, we believe that when you uttered your words, you had these downtrodden people in your mind and heart. We look forward to your further campaigns for the environment and with the peoples who guard them. Maybe one day you will also find time to see the how indigenous peoples in the Philippines live their lives valiantly protecting the environment which they know is their life.”