(Opening remarks delivered by Manuel Rodriguez on Sept. 8 at an environmental forum held at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex (TARC) Auditorium entitled USAPANG TOMASINO: Kabataan Anong Alam Mo Sa Kalikasan?, a forum sponsored by Batas Tomasino, the UST Law Society.)
To our guests and fellow Thomasians…Good afternoon.
First and foremost, in behalf of Batas Tomasino I would like to thank the people responsible for this Environmental forum series.
Our guest speakers,
our partner organizations;
the Civil Law Student Council
the UST UNESCO Club
Mother Earth Philippines Movement
& Sustainable Development Solutions for Asia and the Pacific (SDSAP)
and of course the officer in charge from Batas Tomasino, our lovely Secretary
Ms. Hera Uy from the Faculty of Civil Law
and of course her executive assistant
Ms. Krizia Reamico of the Faculty of Arts and Letters.
Seminar like this, is meant not only to inform or educate us of what is happening on our environment…but also to eliminate in our hearts the apathy, and awaken our sense of responsibility not only as a citizen of this Nation, but also as a part of the human race.
Section 16, Article 2 of our Constitution mandates the State to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology.
One may ask…Is it less important than any of the civil or political rights guaranteed under the Article 3-Bill of Rights considering that it is found in Article 2-Declaration of Principles and State Policies?
Such query was already been answered by our very own Supreme Court in the landmark case of Oposa versus Factoran. No…it does not follow that it is less important than any of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
Such Right (the right to a balanced ecology) belongs to a different category of rights altogether for it concerns nothing less than self-preservation and self-perpetuation. What is found in Art. 3 –Bill of Rights are civil and political rights.
In fact, the Constitution does not need to possess the said provision in order for us to obey it. It is a part of our Natural Law on "Inter-generational Responsibility," and such law transcends all Governments and all Constitutions….
Even the Honorable Supreme Court of the Philippines acknowledges the authority of the Natural Law.
The crisis of the Philippine environment is a crisis of our passage as stewards of this planet. We have not only subdued Mother Earth, as we have been commanded, in the book of Genesis. We have destroyed it and continue to destroy it, without remorse. It is time for penance; it is time for change.
It is my prayer that this USAPANG TOMASINO forum, change our point of view with regard to the topic of environment preservation.
I ask everyone on this auditorium to join us to make sure that we pass on to the next generation a country that has managed to preserve at least a part of the natural bounty that God has put in its care; a country where the air is clean, the water is pure, the soil is rich and fertile, where the children of tomorrow may still listen to the whisper of rivers and brooks and the songs of birds in lush and verdant forests.
As what former US President Clinton has said; “We borrowed our planet, and to whom we bear sacred responsibility.”
Thank you very much. May the Lord bless us and Mother Earth.
Isang mapagpalayang hapon sa bawat isa!
Often recalcitrant, but always principled.