WeGen Laudato Si’ and Caritas Manila in Marawi City: Rebuilding and Strengthening Community Spirit

WeGen is working hand-in-hand with Caritas Manila to install solar PV systems in dioceses in Marawi.  

Through its Damayan Program, Caritas Manila forged an agreement with WeGen subsidiary WeGen Laudato Si’ that the latter will install hybrid solar system projects for the Prelature of Marawi, with each project having a system size of 3.14 kWp.

The Roman Catholic Territorial Prelature of Marawi is under the Ecclesiastical province of Ozamiz. It is comprised of parishes in the minority Catholic community of Marawi, and four municipalities in the Lanao provinces where there is a relatively significant number of Catholics: Malabang and Balabagan in Lanao del Sur; and Sultan Naga Dimaporo and Balo-i in Lanao del Norte.  There are at least 13,000 Catholics living in these areas.

As of November 2019, WeGen Laudato Si’ has installed a total of six projects for the Marawi prelature. These projects are at the Immaculate Concepcion Parish and Convent in Sultan Naga Dimaporo; San Isidro Labrador Parish and Convent in Balabagan; at the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Parish and Office in Malabang; the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish in Brgy. Maria Christina, Balo-I;   the Bishop’s Residence also in Balo-I; and the San Isidro High School of Balabagan.

 “In the entire history of Caritas Manila, we never had a solar energy project, but because of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ appeal that all churches enact concrete changes that will help the planet, we felt that it was crucial that we take immediate action, and installing solar rooftop projects on our churches was a good start,” said Caritas Program Head Gilda A. Garcia.

Garcia explained that they had heard about the solar projects of WeGen Laudato Si’ built for other dioceses. In the context of Marawi,  however, they saw that the difficult situation on the ground   could be alleviated by installing solar projects in the churches there. The war had destroyed many electricity lines, and in many areas, even two years after the war, electricity services were disrupted and unreliable.

With the new solar PV systems WeGen built, church activities have become more normal, and community activities have resumed with the resumption of power.

Garcia said that it’s still early to tell how much exactly they will be saving from the systems, but they are certain that they will be considerable.  As for the solar PV systems themselves, they will be able to generate electricity between 86,865.78 kWh and 96,531.01 kWh in total over the next 25 years, and these will offset 440 tons of carbon emissions for the same period of time. These figures are also equivalent to 211 trees planted. 

 Garcia said that Caritas Manila firmly believes that  solar PV projects are effective tools for the church to show that it is able to be there for  communities during times of crisis: churches are able to do their first and primary duty to strengthen the faith of  Filipinos, and empower the so they can survive and overcome emergencies. In the case of Marawi where basic social services were cut off for a long time, the church is able to share solar-generated electricity to the community, and effectively provide other relief services.

“We are very glad to work with WeGen Laudato Si’ on these projects, and we are going to explore more with them,” she said.