In Tagbilaran: Diocese, group tie up for power
Angeline Valencia (The Freeman) - April 17, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Diocesan buildings will soon have solar panels on their roofs as a meaningful mark in celebrating 2018 as Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons, and also to prepare for the 5th Centenary Jubilee of the Arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.

This way, the Diocese of Tagbilaran becomes a “Church with a ‘missio ad gentes’” and will bring the Good News to the poor.

For this purpose, Most Reverend Alberto S. Uy, signed a memorandum of agreement with WeGen Philippines for the installation of 3-S platform solar panels, storage of battery energy, and software towards renewable Distributed Energy Resources.

This will initially be implemented on all the “suitable parishes, schools, and Diocesan buildings and subsequently, to the laity and secular institutions within the Diocese.

It is noted in the MOA that “on July 9, 2012, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued a pastoral letter on the New Evangelization, announcing a nine-year spiritual journey that will be a grace-filled event of blessings for the Church from October 21, 2012 to March 16, 2021.”

This is line with the preparation for the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.

“Two of the four pillars, state among its purposes: ‘first, fostering and fulfilling the missio ad gentes as a special vocation of the Church in the country, effectively involving the lay people, ‘Christi fideles’ brothers and sisters; priests and seminarians; men and women in consecrated life and secondly, ‘bringing Good News to the poor’ where the Church must become genuinely a Church for and with the poor.”

Pope Francis “called on every person living on the planet to take ‘swift and unified global action’ against climate change.”

The Pope declared “that the technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels — especially coal, but also oil, and to a lesser degree, gas — needs to be progressively replaced without delay, to exploit renewable sources of energy which ensure local self-sufficiency and even the sale of surplus energy”.

This would show “that local individuals and groups can make a real difference; and a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach…so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor because ‘the gravest effects of all attacks on the environment are suffered by the poorest.’”

In time for the 25th anniversary of Bishop Uy’s ordination into priesthood on April 14, the MOA was signed in response to the Papal Encyclical “Laudato Si” as meaningful commemoration of the 500th year anniversary.

The agreement, tagged as the MOA on Laudato Si for 5th Century Jubilee, was signed after the communion of the Holy Mass yesterday at the St. Joseph Cathedral in Tagbilaran City.

WeGen Distributed Energy Philippines Holdings Corp. (WeGen Philippines) was represented by its chief finance officer Edmund Mabuti and its chief growth officer Charlito Ayco.

Bishop Uy signed as the corporate sole, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Tagbilaran.

WeGen Philippines is a stock corporation that holds office at the Ortigas Center in Pasig City.

In the agreement, WeGen and Bishop Uy affirm their strong commitment to two principles.

One is that the encyclical shall be the paramount document that shall instruct, guide, and animate all strategies, plans, actions, and agreements between the parties.

The other principle to be observed under the MOA is that “the Philippines must rapidly transition from the use of and dependence on dirty fossil fuels to renewable energy to promote sustainable, inclusive, and holistic human development, build disaster resiliency, and uplift the poor from poverty and social inequity.”

This would be “in accordance with the 21st Paris Conference of the Parties of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted in 2015, Goal 7 of the global Sustainable Development Goals.

The partnership shall be between WeGen and corporate entities owned by the Tagbilaran archdiocese such as the Social Action Center, Diocesan Caritas office, or an existing or yet-to-be established company.

WeGen will also conduct a feasibility study of all the parishes, churches, schools, and other buildings to cover the technical and financial assessment for the installation of solar energy systems. They will also propose contracts to the diocese or parishes based on the results of the feasibility study.

There shall be no initial cash-out, and it is payable monthly where the reference will be the amount paid for the portion of electricity previously supplied by the electric cooperatives or utility but to be offset by the solar energy produced by the solar energy system.

The basis will be the current utility rate less a discount, and the payment is on an extended period of up to 15 years, with option to pre-pay anytime with no penalties.

After such period, “ownership transfers fully to the Diocese in the nature similar to a rent-to-own arrangement.” (FREEMAN)

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