Church calls on govt help

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CATHOLIC bishops have urged the government to help fight climate change.
Speaking at a dinner in Port Moresby on Friday, Cardinal Pietro Parolin said: “Pope John Paul the second, during his visit (to PNG) in 1995, identified a son of this land Peter Torot, catechist. We hope that Peter Torot can be canonised one day and be the first saint of this land.
“I bring the eternal affection and love from Pope Francis to the people of this nation, particularly to convey to the prime minister and the people of Papua New Guinea the heartfelt condolences of Pope Francis for the loss of lives during the recent earthquakes in the Highlands region of your country.
“At this time, I’d like to wish every success to the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit which will be held in Port Moresby in November of this year.
“ The church, planted long before independence, wishes to collaborate with the newly independent state by responding to essential needs such as healthcare and education.”
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said: “Right around the country the churches make an outstanding contribution to our people, particularly health and education.
“Together we are educating our children in many church schools in the country and many of our friends in PNG know.
“In this term of government, we are focused more on delivering quality education to our children. The teachers and, of course, the government have worked again very closely to deliver healthcare throughout the country. We must expend the universal health programme and it can only be done through a partnership with the churches.
“Right now hospitals and health posts throughout the country, church health workers are saving lives of people and the government, thank you for that commitment. Many of our countries in the Pacific are one or two metres above sea level, the entire nation are at risk. Our young people in Kadovar Island, East Sepik, where forced to move to other areas or locations so that they can continue to survive.
“Again in August 2015, Papua New Guinea experienced one of the most extreme droughts on record. Our people lost lives, could not grow crops and their waterways dried up.
“So together we have an obligation for our people to take action, we must combine our efforts both large and small countries to eliminate greenhouse gases so that we can continue to change the way our people live and improve their living standards.”
O’Neill said refugees had taken advantage of people-smugglers and PNG was aware of the problem and had done what it could to prevent it.

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