MANILA, Feb. 3, 2017–The social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines welcomed “to the highest level” the closure of 23 mining operations in the country.
Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of the National Secretariat for Social Action – Justice and Peace, said this shows the government commitment to fight environmental degradation by the industry.
“Truly, mining in watershed and fragile island ecosystems should not have been permitted,” said Gariguez, who is known for championing the cause of the environment and indigenous peoples.
“The government is serious in repairing its gross mistake in the past – where all that matters is the corporate interests at the cost of the environment,” he said.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) yesterday ordered the closure of 23 mines, mainly nickel producers and mostly located in functional watersheds.
Saying that “it’s time for social justice,” DENR Secretary Gina Lopez said one cannot run a business to the detriment of the environment and the local communities.
Gariguez added that Lopez deserves to be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments (CA).
“Gina Lopez should be confirmed by the CA for standing to what is right and in defending people’s well being, over and above corporate greed.
Earlier, former Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles also wrote a letter asking President Rodrigo Duterte to keep Lopez sa DENR chief.
At a prayer march in Quezon City on Thursday, he also called on the Filipinos to support Lopez in her campaign to protect the environment. (R. Lagarde/CBCPNews)