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Jesuit school recognizes priest's anti-mining advocacy

Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan bestowed an honorary doctorate on a Catholic priest on Thursday in recognition of his efforts to protect Mindoro Island's biodiversity and indigenous people.
Fr. Edwin Gariguez, a winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest award for grassroots environmental activists, is also the executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, the social development, humanitarian and advocacy arm of the Catholic Church in the Philippines.
Gariguez is also one of the convenors of Alyansa Tigil Mina, a countrywide coalition of organizations and individuals that acs as a watchdog over violations in laws and policies related to the mining industry.
“The honorary doctorate is being conferred upon you in recognition of your life-long apostolate for and with the Indigenous Peoples intrinsically linked with caring for creation, our common home,” wrote university president Fr Bobby Yap SJ, in his letter to Gariguez.
“Your ministry is an inspiring response to Pope Francis’ challenge “to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor," Yap added.
Yap added that, “The vocation you have patiently and perseveringly pursued in the peripheries has truly been serving the faith that does justice and ecological stewardship. You are a true activist and scholar for the Indigenous Peoples and the Environment."
The Jesuit-run university in Cagayan de Oro also picked Damulog, Bukidnon Mayor Romeo Tiongco as the Fr William F Masterson SJ Awardee in recognition of his service to the community.
Frank Rivera, multi-awarded writer, actor, visual artist and poet was the recipient of the Fr Francisco R Demetrio SJ Award.
Rivera is also known as the “makata sa cellphone” for his notable “textula” series or SMS poems was recognized for his outstanding contributions to Philippine culture and arts.
Last year, the honorary doctor of humanities, honoris causa, was bestowed on Teresita Quintos-Deles, secretary, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, the Fr. William F. Masterson SJ Award for contributions to social development was given to government peace panel in talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairperson Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and MILF peace panel and Bangsamoro Transition Commission Chairman Mohagher Iqbal. — BAP, GMA News