Withdraw from Coal (WFC) backed the appointment of Cardinal Jose Fuerte Advincula as head of the Archdiocese of Manila and hoped for his solidarity in the fight to end coal financing in the Philippines.
Advincula was appointed by Pope Francis last Thursday to take the place vacated by Cardinal Luis Tagle in 2019 in overseeing the community of the faithful in the Philippine capital.
“We are thrilled to hear that Cardinal Advincula will be taking on this new role as Archbishop of Manila, and we wish him blessed beginnings. As one who is known to be a leader that listens to his flock, we look forward to how he would embrace the poor and vulnerable especially as this time of unprecedented crisis lingers. We at WFC also hope that Archbishop Advincula will be with us in listening to the cry of the Earth and demanding accountability from those who fuel its degradation,” said Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, who succeeded Cardinal Advincula as Bishop of San Carlos in 2013.
Alminaza is a convenor of WFC, a network of civil society and faith-based groups and Church leaders that has been actively engaging domestic banks toward ending their financial support to coal developers and projects in the Philippines.
“In our effort to advance coal divestment among local banks, we found that the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has been channeling the biggest amount of financing to the coal industry in the past decade. RCAM being a top shareholder of BPI, we eagerly await the ways we can work together with Archbishop Advincula in urging BPI to have public policies and positions to restrict its coal activities,” said Alminaza.
As of December 2020, the Archdiocese of Manila owns 7.26 percent of the bank’s total shares and is listed as its fifth biggest stockholder. Its current Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, is also a staunch advocate against coal.