MANILA, Oct. 10, 2011—The Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (KPNE) lauded the statement issued by the Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum (EBF) against the alleged destructive mining activities in Bicol.
“Defend Patrimony commends EBF in putting forward the demands of the people on the issue of mining. The support of church leaders is very important in the continuing campaign against environmental destruction and mineral resource depletion brought about by large-scale mining,” stated Clemente Bautista Jr. of KPNE and one of the conveners of the Defend Patrimony Alliance.
Titled “Oppose the continuing onslaught on the earth,” the EBF, which is co-chaired by Caloocan Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez Jr. (Roman Catholic) and Bishop Elmer Bolocon of the United Churches Christ of the Philippines (UCCP), and several other leaders of the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Aglipayan churches, had expressed alarm “over the wanton abuse of natural resources by the Transnational Mining Corporations (TNCs) with their local cohorts in South Luzon Region, especially in Bicol.”
“The experience of the Bicolano people is no different from the plight of local communities in mining areas throughout the country: massive environmental destruction, shrinking economic base of the people, militarization of mining communities, displacement of communities due to land-grabbing and unjust land-conversion, gross human rights violations, destruction of flora and fauna, and further impoverishment of the country. The unresolved and ever continuing polymetallic mining operations in Rapu-Rapu Island, Albay, Labo, Paracale, and Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte, the aggressive mine expansion in Aroroy, Masbate by Filminera Resources Corp., the peculiar magnetite off-shore mining in Camarines Sur by Bogo Mining Resources Corp; the Palanog Cement Plant in Albay, Panganiban and San Andres, Catanduanes, and the deeper quagmire of maldevelopment of mining in Matnog, Sorsogon challenge us to rethink our role as responsible God’s stewards of creation,” read the joint statement, citing Genesis 1: 26 – 31, as their basis of action.
“Destructive mining is blatantly unethical, unjust, and senseless for it exacerbates poverty, causes dislocation of livelihood of the people, and even threatens the base of life and life itself,” the statement further read.
Iñiguez, Bolocan, Legazpi (Catholic) Bishop Joel Z. Baylon, Bishop Arturo R. Asi of the South Luzon Jurisdictional Area, Iglesia Filipina Independiente, Sorsogon (Catholic) Bishop Arturo M. Bastes, SVD, The Right Rev. Ronelio V. Fabriquer, Diocese of Romblon (IFI), Bishop Gabriel A. Garol (UCCP, IFI), The Right Revd. Joselito T. Cruz, General Secretary, IFI, The Right Revd. Pedro Ojascastro, Diocese of Cavite (IFI) had called on to the Filipino people to (1) To oppose all destructive mining operations, both locally or foreign-owned; (2) To scrap the Mining Act of 1995; (3) to demand immediate moratorium of large scale mining; (4) to demand the demilitarization of mining communities; (5) To fight for justice and integrity of creation; and (6) To pass the HB 4315 or the Peoples’ Mining Bill.
The church leaders also urged the churches and faith-based groups and institutions to “pursue organizing, awareness building, and other relevant activities, and be in full solidarity with the people’s movement against destructive mining operations.” [Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews]