Posts Tagged ‘Philippines’

Islamic Perspective On Environment Viz-a-viz Mindanao Natural Resources

October 25, 2010

(In the name of Allah, The Sustainer, The Merciful)

By: Zulfikhar S. Abdullah, Ernesto T. Santa Cruz- October 2009

Muslim- Chief of Staff of ( RLA-ARMM) Assemblyman Datu Suharto S. Midtimbang Cotabato City –

Christian Catholic- Chairman- Department of Environment and Ecology of the United Bangsamoro Sultanates and Royalties of the Philippines (NGO) Cotabato City –


Several decades ago, many environmentalist groups/institutions and even individuals from different sectors of society emerged and strived hard to advocate awareness on the destruction and devastation of our environment both in the local and global domain. Apparently, such advocacies were not able to reach the target level of participation from our local and international communities. Statistically, this can perhaps be traced to the worsening environmental problems of every well developed and developing countries of the world with the exception of few countries.

During those decades, perhaps some advanced technocrat countries perceived that by preserving and protecting their own environment domains they would be exempted to the upheaval of their environment. What they set aside are the realities that our mother earth is one oblate spheroid chattel where the seas and the oceans are not separated from each other though our lands and soils are polarized geographically through the formation of different continents.

It also has to be noted that most of the religions in the world, being a spiritual source of mankind had less contribution in the advocacy of environment protection and conservation. For some reason, they have depended upon their respective governments and put down their full trust on the matter of environment as the prime responsibility of the government. Every government, therefore, have institutionalized a separate department on environment matters. In some other way, this can be associated to the doctrine of separation of politics and religion or say the division between the moral and legal vernacular or due to the partition of the man made laws and the holy the scriptures.


Fortunately, the emergence of this “Mindanao Interfaith Stewardship Dialogue 2009” through “Interfaith Dialogue on the Integrity of Creation” initiated by Xavier University, SEA for Mindanao and KAFI Foundation, heralds to create a common stance and possibly serve as a nucleus to open up a avenue for our religious sectors to participate and impart their moral and spiritual perception on environmental matters and to be able to achieve a meeting of minds in our midst. And also to intensify multi-sectoral cooperation to advocate a common ground to our roles and responsibilities on the notion of stewardship over the integrity of Mindanao’s God-given natural resources.


We know that the environment is one of today’s most serious problems both in the local and global domain. It is a problem that perils not only us but the whole world, our future generations and their right to live in a healthy environment. It is causing many countries including the Philippines to move toward an era in a state of apprehension and fear. This compels us to understand the environmental problems and to help in solving them in our simple yet concerted best level ways.

Precisely, we have to consider the environment from a broad perspective. Foremost, we should not forget that the Creator and Owner of all environments is at the same time our Creator.

Environment is formed by our house, garden, and car, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the town in which we live, and the people we live with. So too, it is formed by the seas, lakes, rivers, roads, mountains, and forests, which are shared by all the members of society and so to speak the entire universe itself is our environment.

Apparently, when we say “environment,” we have to understand all our surroundings in which we and all living creatures live. While by “environmental pollution,” we mean the dirtying and spoiling of these natural surroundings. The air is polluted, the seas are polluted, the ozone layer is diminishing, different animal species becoming extinct or endangered and the devastation of our forest lands. We can also include the pollution of our social environment, worldwide poverty and famine, deprivation of human rights, homelessness, migration problems, racism, abandoned children, wars, drug abuse, alcohol addiction and violence to mention a few.

On the other hand, since this particular interfaith dialogue focuses on the God-given natural resources of Mindanao, then I should focus my presentation on the Islamic perception on natural resources (environment) and the concept of stewardship being emphasized as gamut of our interfaith dialogue. Luckily, we must be grateful, despite hectic schedules of our spiritual vocations in our respective religions, we were be able to appreciate that religion has an important role to play in overcoming these environmental problems and to be able to develop a comprehensive and integral environmental consciousness. And to strengthen our stance as unified force to preserve, protect and conserve our natural resources (environment).

Basically, as far as my research is concerned, according to Islamic point of view, everything in the universe is created by God. It is God who adorns the skies with the sun, the moon and the stars, and the face of the earth with flowers, trees, gardens, orchards, and the various animal species. It is again God who causes the rivers and streams to flow on the earth, Who upholds the skies , causes the rain to fall, and places the boundary between night and day. The universe together with all its richness and vitality is the work and art of God, that is, of the Creator. It is again God who created all plants and animals in pairs, in this way causing their procreation and preservation. God created man subsequently to all these – to entrust these environment.

Islam believes that men are God’s vicegerents on earth, to steward all the created things both the living and the non-living things. We were given an intellect (reason) before He put the trust to manage all created things accordingly, with its due measures and proportions. Just as we are not the lords of nature and the world, so the world is not our property which we can dispose of as we wish or as we are able. Nature was created by God and it belongs to God. Everything in nature is a sign of God’s existence; that is, a token or missive. The Holy Qur’an expresses this truth as follows:

“Behold, thy lord said to the angels: I will create a vicegerent on earth.” (Holy Qur’an, Surah (chapter) II, Verse 30)… “It is He (Lord) who hath created for you all things that are on earth; Moreover His (lord) design comprehended the heavens, for He (Lord) gave order and perfection to the seven firmaments; and of all things He (lord) hath perfect knowledge.” (Holy Qur’an, Sarah. chapter II, Verse 29).

“Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the night and the day; in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which God sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds, and the clouds subjugated between the sky and earth — [here] indeed are signs for a people that are wise.” (Holy Qur’an, Surah. chapter II, Verse 164)

The Beloved Prophet of Islam, Mohammad (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) both in his practices and “Hadiths” (sayings of the Holy Prophet), attached a great importance to planting trees, protecting existent ones, planting forests, as well as to conserving existent ones. His practices and conduct related to conservation of the environment should therefore be considered from the Qur’anic standpoint. For us his actions are sources of inspiration constituting his works and deeds/practices, which the Muslims are obliged to follow. To put it another way, as in all matters, the exemplar of Islamic conduct related to the environment and the person who displayed it in most perfect fashion was God’s Messenger (PBUH). His commands concerning it, are learnt, the Muslims weighty responsibilities become clear.

†On migrating to Medina from Mecca, God’s Messenger (PBUH) organized the planting of trees and of date groves. He made the forests and green spaces conservation areas, where every sort of living creature lived. These were called sanctuaries (hima). For example, a strip of land approximately twelve miles wide around Medina was proclaimed a sanctuary and made a conservation area. We know that He proclaimed other areas, similar to this, sanctuaries. All these show the paramount importance —as a religion— Islam gives to nature conservancy and protection of all nature’s living creatures.


“If you have a sapling, if you have the time, be certain to plant it, even if Doomsday starts to break forth.” (al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir, iii, 30)

“Whoever plants trees, God will give him reward to the extent of their fruit.” (Musnad, v, 415)

“Whoever reclaims and cultivates dry, barren land will be rewarded by God for the act. So long as men and animals benefit from it He will record it for him as almsgiving.”(al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir, vi, 39; Haythami, Majmau al-Zawaaid, iv, 67-8)

“Whoever plants a tree, reward will be recorded for him so long as it produces fruit.”(Majma’ al-Zawaid, v, 480)

“If a Muslim plants a tree, that part of its produce consumed by men will be as almsgiving for him. Any fruit stolen from the tree will also be as almsgiving for him. That which the birds eat will also be as almsgiving for him. Any of its produce which people may eat thus diminishing it, will be as almsgiving for the Muslims who planted it”.(Bukhari, Tajrid al-Sahih, vii, 122; Muslim, Musaqat, 2 No. 2)

“The reward accruing from seven things continue to reach the person concerned even if he is in his grave: knowledge he has taught, water he has provided for the public benefit, any well he has dug, any tree he has planted, a mosque he has built, recitations of the Qur’an bequeathed to him, and children who pray for him after his death.”(al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir, iv, 87)

Following these commands of the Qur’an and the exemplary practices of God’s Messenger (PBUH), throughout history, Muslims have given importance to planting trees and protecting existing one’s. The holy Prophet (PBUH), when sending an expedition for a battle to Muta, gave some instructions and underlines that: “Do not cut down trees and do not kill animals except for food (in the enemy territory).”

Green is the color of Islamic civilization, so too the dome of Prophet’s tomb is green. These are not mere coincidence; they should be seen as reflecting the importance Islam gives to greenery, nature, and trees.

Another important thing related to the environment is the good treatment of the animals, and the protection of them; or more correctly, extending our kindness and compassion to them. However, today many animal species are becoming extinct and endangered. Other animals stray abandoned and hungry in the streets. Taken as a whole, therefore, it cannot be said that we treat animals well and carry out our duties towards them. For Islam regulates not only relations between and among individuals and between individuals and society and the state, it also regulates relations between God, man and nature (environment). A natural consequence of this is that man is answerable to God for his attitude and actions towards nature (environment) and animals. This may be seen in the one Hadith of the Holy Prophet (PBUH):

“If without good reason anyone kills a sparrow, or a creature lesser than that even, the living creature will put his plaint to God on the Day of Judgment, saying: ‘So-and-so killed me for no purpose.”(al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir, iv, 87)


These are only few Qur’anic injunctions and Hadiths of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), regarding forest related matters that inspires yours truly through the office of former Speaker Pro-Tempore of the Regional Legislative Assembly, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao ( RLA-ARMM) Assemblyman Datu Suharto S. Midtimbang to craft a bill that would serve as a legacy to our generations, principally to protect and conserve the remaining natural forests and to rehabilitate our denuded forestlands specifically in the area of the Autonomous region, encouraged by Sultan Mohammad H. Adil, the Sultan of Kutawato. Auspiciously, the “Regional Sustainable Forest Management Act, (RSFMA) of 2004” surfaced.

This law was basically crafted in line with the existing laws of the Philippine Republic, the “Adat” (refers to customs and traditions practiced by any of the tribes in the area of the ARMM), the “Taritib ago Igma” (refers to the unwritten customary “Adat” laws of the tribes in the area of the ARMM) and in the framework of the Shari’ah Law (refers to the totality of God’s commandments to man, it is oftentimes translated as Islamic law). Thus, the concept of “Kilafah” (vicegerent or steward of God) and “Amanah”) constructive use and development of the earth is a trust from God) were given extensive emphasis and contemplation.

Since the area of the ARMM is comprised of five (5) component provinces, with its diversified major tribes such as Maguindanawons of Maguindanao, Tausogs of Sulu, Maranaos of Lanao, Yakans of Basilan and Sama of Tawi-Tawi and some other indigenous tribes in Mindanao i.e the Kalagan of Davao Oriental, the Tirurays, with the participation of some non-Muslim religious group, such as, Roman Catholics, Seventh Day Adventists and other sectors currently residing in the area of the Autonomous region, it must also be noted that the said “RSFMA” bill was conceptualized based on the basic principles of popular consultation among the stakeholders of the Autonomous government in harmony and with high regards to the customary traditions between and among the inhabitants of the ARMM.

In addition, this Forest Management Act as a form of “Kilafah” (Stewardship) and “Amanah” (Trust) – the conservation, protection, constructive utilization, management and development of forestlands and their resources shall be considered as a divine trust and the people involved in those duties and obligations shall be considered as stewards or trustees who are not only responsible to the state and the people but are also accountable to the Almighty God.


Islam through its Holy Book the Holy Qur’an and Hadiths (sayings and deeds) of the last Prophet of God, the Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) clearly emphasized that environment and its natural resources were created by God for the benefit of the entire mankind, being the source of life and other things that benefits man itself in due proportions and measures, i.e food, shelter, potable water, fruits, vegetation, etc, God also created man to be his vicegerent (kilafah/stewardship) on earth and amanah (trust) based on the reasons He bestowed upon man purposely, to protect, conserve and preserve the natural resources for its sustainability to man’s needs accordingly.

In an attempt to synthesize the problem of forest destruction and denudation in the area of the autonomous region, the Regional Sustainable Forest Management Act of 2004 was thus crafted in harmonization to Islamic perspectives on environment, in line with the existing laws of the Republic of the Philippines and the Adat (customary traditions of different tribes). The RSFMA aims to salvage the destructed and denuded forestlands in the area of ARMM.

The said law also aspires to create an avenue to rehabilitate the forestlands of the autonomous region to pave the way for alternative ways to uplift the living condition of the inhabitants by developing income generating livelihood programs out of the constructive utilization of natural resources of our environment. Such livelihood programs will eventually lead to the betterment of the people’s lives thereby build an atmosphere of peace that serves as the stimulus of development not only in the area of the autonomous region but possibly in the entire Mindanao and its islands.


I seek refuge to “Allah”, the creator and the master of universe, to the Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and His guidance, I would like to express gratitude to the people behind this paper who patiently supported and enlightened us. To Johnny Cabreira, for including the Sultanates and ARMM in the list of participants thus enabling them to express their knowledge and wisdom regarding these responsibilities, for keeping us updated and for taking care of our board and lodging; to the secretariat, for patiently updating us; to Bai Dolly Adil, for raising funds for our transportation and other expenses; and lastly, to Sultan Mohammad H Adil , Al Hajj for acknowledging and trusting us to prepare and present this literature representing the Sultanates and its constituents to this worthy forum, “Interfaith Dialogue on the Integrity of Creation”, initiated by Xavier University, SEA for Mindanao and KAFI Foundation. “Alhamduli’lah”

This piece is taken from the website of Kuro-Kuro.

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USAID Releases “Al Khalifa (The Steward): Environmental Sourcebook with Islamic Perspective

October 25, 2010

Muslim religious leaders in Western Mindanao warmly received Al Khalifa (The Steward), a sourcebook on environmental protection and conservation written from the perspective of Islam.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Philippine Environmental Governance 2 Project (EcoGov2), worked with Muslim community leaders, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, educators, and Qur’anic experts from Western Mindanao to develop Al Khalifa. USAID released introductory copies of the sourcebook in Zamboanga City on April 22, 2007 to coincide with the global celebration of Earth Day. The sourcebook, the first publication of its kind in the country, underscores the commitment of the EcoGov2 project to promote good environmental governance practices in Western Mindanao.

Right now, 20 local government units (LGUs) in the Western Mindanao provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay receive substantial technical assistance from the EcoGov 2 project. USAID’s EcoGov2 project developed Al Khalifa to help LGUs in predominantly Muslim regions of the Philippines improve their capacity for sound ecological governance.

Based on the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, Al Khalifa seeks “to educate leaders and followers in Muslim communities that the environment and ecological governance are part of man’s responsibilities as God’s vicegerents on earth” and “to enable Muslims to be involved in environmental governance through a clearer understanding and better appreciation of his responsibilities and accountabilities as prescribed by Islam.”

Al Khalifa is inspired by the Islamic principle of man as God’s steward and trustee on earth. As stated in the sourcebook, “Islam exemplifies rightful conduct…and regulates man’s life according to the halal-haram dichotomy, of what is allowed and forbidden, lawful and unlawful… And Islam views the care and management of the environment as part of every Muslim’s religious obligation.”

Endorsements by Islamic religious leaders of Al Khalifa :

In Zamboanga City, Deputy Mufti for Western Mindanao and Palawan Sheikh Abdulwakil Tanjilil of the Darul Ifta, endorsed Al Khalifa. He said that, “As a Muslim, one should be aware of the responsibilities in the use of earth’s natural resources and the care of the environment, and should enjoin his Muslim brothers to obey Allah commands them to do, in relation to them.” He also enjoined “all concerned Muslims to propound the teachings from the Al Khalifa in their daily activities, at home and in government, schools and mosques, work and leisure, and to consider all these as part of Islamic worship”.

In Lamitan, Basilan, Ustadz Ulama Usman Mangkabung heartily accepted the sourcebook stressing that “the people are all responsible for the environment”.

In Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay Province, Hadji Jaalal Saniel appreciated the book as a “good source to support what the Qur’an and Hadith command”.

In Buug, Zamboanga Sibugay, Ustadz Abdul Mauna recommended that the book be used as in instructional reference in the different madaris (Islamic schools) all over the country.

Earlier, in the Islamic City of Marawi, Al Khalifa was used as a reference in a khutbah (a religious sermon) delivered on April 13, 2007 at Masjed Bubong Lilod by Amrola Diambangan, aleem (“learned man”) of the Young Moro Professional Network, Madaya.

This piece is taken from the website of the Philippine Environmental Governance Project.

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Christians-Muslims Meet to Address Global Warming

October 25, 2010

On September 8, 2010, a former Philippine senator and environmental activist revealed plans to organize an interfaith dialogue among religious leaders to address global warming.

Former senator Heherson Alvarez, vice chairman of the government’s Climate Change Commission, said he will enlist the help of different religious organizations in the country in the fight against effects of climate change, reports.

He announced his plan during a press conference held after a roundtable discussion among Muslim leaders and environmental activists in Quezon City.

The Muslim Association for Climate Change Action (MACCA) was also launched during the conference. MACCA, according to organizers, was an offshoot of the Muslim Seven-Year Action Plan on Climate Change crafted in Istanbul, Turkey in June 2009.

Amina Rasul, lead convenor of the Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy (PCID), said more than 20 Muslim intellectuals, scientists and environmentalists joined the discussion organized by her group in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Peace and Equity Foundation.

The participants expressed concern over the impact of environmental destruction, particularly in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which is most vulnerable to the rise in sea level.

“The Muslim community is speaking out,” said Rasul. She added that 70 percent of the 1.4 billion Muslims across the globe live in places that are vulnerable to climate change like Pakistan, which is now experiencing the worst floods in years. India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are other threatened countries where Muslims live.

“When I was still DENR secretary I gave 10 Catholic bishops mountains to protect. They planted trees and improved the environment, and they were successful,” Alvarez told

He mentioned mountains in Agusan province in Mindanao and in Antipolo city east of Manila. “Only Bishop Julio Labayen encountered a problem with people who burned some trees for charcoal. But he was able to solve it.”

Retired Carmelite Bishop Labayen at that time headed Infanta prelature comprising the northern part of Quezon Province, Polillo archipelago, Jomalig Island, Patnanungan town and Aurora Province in northern Philippines.

“Now these Muslims can nurture and protect the watershed of Marawi which is a source of clean water and hydroelectric power,” Alvarez said.

“Because the public sector failed we need the religious sector and the NGOs to protect the environment.”

This piece is taken from the website of CathNews Asia.

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Muslim Clerics Urged to Include Environment in Sermons

October 25, 2010


The country’s ulamas have been urged to take on a new task: preach about the environment.

The local branch of the Muslim Associations for Climate Change Action has asked the country’s Muslim clerics to include sermons on the environment during the Friday worship seeing as the country’s five million Muslims in Mindanao are, aside from armed conflicts, threatened by global warming.

MACCA-Philippines convenor Amina Rasul said: “Most Muslim citizens living in Mindanao, they’re livelihood are connected with natural resources like land, water. You will have five million who will not be able to support their livelihood in the years to come.”

Rasul said studies show that the people of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao are vulnerable to the effects of global warming like drought and floods.

Since these places are also witness to armed conflicts, the residents in these areas would find it doubly hard to adapt to the changes in the environment.

“The Department of Environment and Natural Resources addressing all of those challenges, so is the Climate Change Commission. We are coming in because we found out that there is not much that’s being done to work on these issues in the Muslim communities,” Rasul said.

The first meeting of MACCA in Kuwait in 2009 produced a call that urged “among other things, getting the ulamas to talk about the environment and the need to protect the environment during the Friday prayers,” Rasul said.

“Another issue, they said, that we should have [the] environment inserted into the curriculum of the ‘maddrassah,’” she said, referring to the Islamic schools.

Rasul said ulamas and Muslim scholars are vital in advocacy building and urging communities into action. Every village in Muslim Mindanao, she said, has an ulama who is respected by the community.

Already, there were Muslim scholars and clerics who preach about protecting the environment. The mufti of Tawi-Tawi, for instance, is active in environmental matters, Rasul noted.

“So, it would be good if you can bring the ‘khutba’ (sermon) from Tawi-Tawi and spread it in the hundreds of Mosques all over the country. Then you would have a Friday sermon encouraging the faithful to protect the environment. Pick up your litter. Don’t burn rubber. Don’t cut trees. Plant a tree. All of these things they can start working on at the advocacy level,” Rasul said.

This piece is taken from the website of the

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Philippine Muslims Form Network to Confront Climate Change

October 25, 2010

October 3, 2010

A group of Muslim Filipino scientists, religious leaders, academics, and activists recently formed a network intended to confront the issue of climate change to Muslim communities during a round table gathering convened by the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)at the Imperial Palace Suites in Quezon City.

The roundtable discussion on Muslim Action for Climate Change(MACC) was supported by the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) and the Magbassa Kita Foundation, Inc.

The Muslim leaders agreed to support the initiatives of the global Muslim Seven Year Plan.

Action Plan on Climate Change 2010-2017 (M7YAP) approved during the historic conference on climate change held in Istanbul from July 5-7, 2009, wherein 200 Muslim leaders committed to spur action to protect the natural environment and combat climate change.

The Muslim leaders gathered at the roundtable on MACC agreed to establish their Philippine network to respond to the challenges of climate change and to support the initiatives of the M7YAP as well as work with the global MACCA.

Climate Change and the Muslim World Climate change is increasingly seen as the most critical challenge facing the world today. The Islamic world is particularly vulnerable to climate change because of the effects of rising sea levels, with their effects on Muslims living in coastal communities.

Patterns of drought and rainfall are also expected to change, with enormous consequences for human populations. For the Philippines, studies have shown that many of the areas that are highly vulnerable to projected temperature increases; impacts of El Nino events, salt-water intrusion and sea level rise are in Muslim Mindanao.

With the more than 5million Muslims that are in harm’sway, the participants to the lastweek’s Muslim Action for Climate Change RTD expressed the need to engage and mobilize scientists, scholars and environmental organizations to conduct research and information and education activities on climate change and environmental sustainability.

For instance, studies by Greenpeace and data from the National Statistics Coordination Board (NCSB) show that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is ranked first among all regions in terms of vulnerability to a one-meter rise in sea level.

Sulu inparticular is the most vulnerable province in the country in terms of vulnerability to a one-meter rise in sea level.

A Response from Muslim Filipinos, PCID President Amina Rasul explained that the formation of MACCA-Philippines is actually the response of Muslims in the Philippines to the Muslim Seven Year Action Plan for Climate Change (M7YAP) that wascrafted in Istanbul, Turkey in June 2009 for all Muslim countries.

“Our people are most vulnerable, since oursituation is compounded by the armed conflict and poverty pervasive in our communities,” Ms. Rasul said, “we need to act, we need to respond, as individuals and ascommunities.”

The plan, drawn up by Earth Mates Dialogue Centre, an NGO based in London, and supported by Alliance of Religions and Conservation or ARC, as part of the UN/ARC Seven Year Plan Initiative, proposed investigating every level of Muslim activity from daily life to annual pilgrimages, from holy cities to the futuretraining of Imams.

Its network also issued a declaration expressing their willingness to put forward a united Muslim front to take action against thecatastrophic consequences ofclimate change.

The Istanbul conference proposed the establishment of the “Muslim Associations for Climate Change Action” or “MACCA” as an umbrella organization to manage the attainment of proposals under the M7YAP.
Part of this action plan was the convening of the First International Conference onMuslim Action on Climate Change in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia last April 9-10, 2010 where 200 environment experts, academics and clerics from 30 countries with Muslim population.

From the Philippines, Ms. Rasul and Dr. Filemon G. Romero, Professor of Oceanography of Environmental Science of the Mindanao State University in Tawi-Tawi were invited as resource persons.

The lead organization in South East Asia is the KEHATI Foundation for Biodiversity of Indonesia, which hosted the first international conference for MACCA in Bogor.

The Bogor conference stressed that Muslims should become agents of change to protect the environment with the help of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

Participants called on the OIC to promote climate change policies and setup a special council to take the lead on climate change issues, a conference said.

The initiative received support from various government officials who attended the forum.

DENR SecretaryR amon Paje, represented by Undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio, Jr. lauded the efforts of Muslims to unite and join the global effort to combat the negative impact of climate change.

“The DENR will fullysupport this initiative by ourMuslim brethren,” Sec. Paje said.

Senate Committee on Climate Change Chair Sen. Loren Legarda stressed the need to provide a global response to the global menace that is climate change and congratulated the convenors of MACCA-Philippines for their effort.

Sen. Legarda, who is known for her advocacy of the environment and the rights of Muslims in the Philippines,i nvited the group to brief her committee on the MACCA initiative.

Climate Change Commission Vice-Chair Sec. Heherson Alvarez, meanwhile, said that the commission is fully committed to strengthening grassroots initiatives such as MACCA-Philippines as a way of helping government harness the nation’s resources in its fight to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Former Representative Nereus Acosta, principal author of theClean Air Act, the Clean WaterAct, the Solid Waste Management Act, and the Biodiversity Protection Act, expressed the hope that MACCA-Philippines can help in changing the mindset of politicians, officials and the people in general in addressing the problem of climate change.

He noted that while laws andaction plans have been crafted with respect to climate change, it is important to educate and inform the people not just of the terrible consequences of climate change but how one can contribute to arrest its harmful effects.

The declaration on Muslim Action for Climate Change, which wassigned by allthe participants, cited the fact that the Islamic faith considers “all men andwomen as Allah’s vicegerents on earth.”

The signatories to the declaration expressed their willingness to contribute “their expertise and necessary resources” to fully support the ideals and initiatives of the Muslim Association for Climate Change Action (MACCA) and the Muslim Seven Year Action Plan on Climate Change 2010-2017.

The participants also agreed to establish the Muslim Association for Climate Change Action in the Philippines (MACCA-Philippines). They agreed to work together to research and develop programs to address the problem of climate change, in cooperation with the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources, the Presidential Commission onClimate Change and other national as well as international institutions. Press Release

This piece is taken from the website of Zamboanga Today Online.

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Philippines: Mindanao State University Adopts Islamic Environmental Sourcebook

March 28, 2010

06/03/2008 –

The pioneering sourcebook on environment management – the result of the collective efforts of scholars, clerics and local government officials in Muslim Mindanao – is well on the way to becoming a standard training and learning tool in the region.

The sourcebook titled Al Khalifa (The Steward) went through a series of consultations and workshops, with the religious leaders in Western Mindanao playing the key role, and was positively welcomed by local government units in the region. It seeks “to enable Muslims to be involved in environmental governance through a clearer understanding and better appreciation of their responsibilities and accountabilities as prescribed by Islam.”

Al Khalifa was developed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Philippine Environmental Governance (EcoGov) Project, working with Muslim community leaders, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, educators, and Qur’anic experts from Western Mindanao.

In a workshop hosted by Cotabato City, DENR-ARMM and EcoGov on May 21, representatives of academe, ARMM LGUs, and development projects agreed to work for the adoption of Al Khalifa as a standard guide for all environmental governance initiatives.

One of the recommendations of the group was to draft an executive order for the ARMM Governor which will direct the regional offices of DENR, DA/BFAR, DepEd, Bureau of Madaris, and local government units to integrate Al Khalifa principles and teachings in their work. It was also recommended that a similar EO be issued by the Mayor of Cotabato City.

The Act for Peace, a Mindanao-based project, will integrate environment concerns in their training modules for peace advocates, guided by the book. The Cotabato-based Action Against Hunger committed to use Al Kahilfa teachings in their IEC campaign.

Other workshop participants included the Mindanao State University (MSU), Accelerated Teachers Education Program (ATEP) of Notre Dame University in Cotabato City, and the Philippine Muslim Women Council from Marawi City.

In an earlier meeting on May 14, the MSU core group discussed the development of syllabi and modules based on the Al Khalifa sourcebook, to be used by students, mentors, and religious leaders. The materials will be translated to various languages and replicated in all MSU campuses in Mindanao. MSU is expected to play a crucial role as service provider for local governments in the field of environmental management, where it can propound both technical aspects and moral principles in leadership and governance.

The EcoGov Project is helping LGUs in ecologically critical areas in Mindanao manage their forest and coastal resources, and their solid waste and wastewater. With Al Khalifa providing guidance, they hope that environmental programs will be carried out more effectively in Muslim communities.

This piece is taken from the website of the Philippine Environmental Governance Project.

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