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Caritas Philippines, the development and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has expressed its strongest support for the Masungi Geopark Project following the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) planned cancellation of the 2017 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that established the award-winning reforestation project.

“We believe the planned cancellation is unwise and would be detrimental to environmental protection efforts,” said Caritas Philippines Vice President Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, according to a statement released by the organization. “This is a time when the government should be supporting successful initiatives, not hindering them.”

Caritas Philippines emphasized that the success of the Masungi Georeserve Project is a testament to its positive impact. “We are concerned about the real impact of this cancellation,” Alminaza said.

Caritas Philippines echoed Masungi Georeserve’s statement that the move seems to favor “large-scale fraudulent claimants, land grabbers, quarries and swimming pool resorts” rather than the Filipino people and the environment.

The organization urged the DENR to explore alternative solutions, including formal negotiations and open dialogue. “Caritas Philippines joins Masungi Georeserve in raising concerns that the cancellation could be a way to avoid the DENR’s obligation to remove illegal occupants from the protected area, including those with government ties,” Alminaza said.

Caritas Philippines concluded its statement by calling upon the public to stand together against this “unwise” decision and fight for the preservation of the Masungi Geopark Project.