MANILA, April 16, 2015—The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) has joined Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) and Alyansa Laban sa Mina (ALAMIN) in expressing anger over the government reinstatement of Intex Resources’ Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for its Mindoro Nickel Project, blasting the act as no less than a betrayal to the people of Mindoro and their natural resources.
“Mindoreños are one in opposing mining in the province, as this will destroy our fragile ecosystem. The people of Mindoro do not deserve this kind of betrayal from the government, the very same that should be upholding and protecting our rights and our environment,” said Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive director of CBCP-NASSA, in a statement.
“We will not let this betrayal extinguish our fire of passion to protect our lands and mountains against corporate greed, pursued in collusion with our own government,” he added.
Despite the deceptive strategies and bribery Intex allegedly employs in its desire to start its mining operation, the priest, however, expresses confidence that it will never win, certain that Mindoreños will continue to heroically stand their ground to save and protect the island from environmental degradation.
In November 2009, the people of Mindoro celebrated when the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) temporarily revoked Intex’s ECC due to anomalies relating to the company’s acquisition of the said certificate. .
For more than a decade, Mindoreños succeeded in thwarting Intex’s plan to set up shop on the island.
Favoring big business
In their collective statement, CBCP-NASSA, ATM, and ALAMIN explained the situation was reversed only when the Aquino administration chose corporate capitalist interest over people’s lives and the environment in reinstating the revoked ECC.
“The people of Mindoro are now in rage because of this very unfortunate event. Intex’s ECC reinstatement is a symbol of the Office of the President and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)’s undeniable betrayal of the Mindoreños welfare and trust,” said Jeff Rafa of ALAMIN, an anti-mining people’s organization based in the island.
Meanwhile, Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of ATM, a coalition of more than a hundred environmental advocates, called on the Office of the President and DENR “to revoke the reinstatement of Intex’s ECC, stressing what they did is invalid and contrary to the position of the local government as well as of the affected communities.”
He stated further that both Malacañang and DENR must “feel ashamed” for putting corporate business interest above the best interest of Mindoreños and the environment. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)