Religious leaders call for mining ban in Romblon

Posted By: Chris Costuya On:

MANILA, Jan. 22, 2011—Local church leaders are calling for mining ban in the province of Romblon claiming that the industry destroys people’s lives and their relationship with one another, the environment and God.

Msgr. Ernie Nonato V. Fetalino, HP, chairman of Romblon Ecumenical Forum Against Mining (REFAM) said that human beings are called to be stewards of the earth, and as such, should not abuse it.

He stressed that their opposition to mining is “in response to emerging issues such as global warming and climate change, further resulting to massive imbalance in nature.”

“Mining at this time, as observed and presently implemented, goes beyond environmental, economic and human rights issues, it now becomes a spiritual-moral issue,” he explained.

REFAM is composed of the Roman Catholic Church, Iglesia Filipiniana Independiente, Foursquare Church, Southern Baptist Church, Jesus is Lord, United Methodist Church and Pentecostals.

United Methodist Pastor Hermie Allera, who is also REFAM vice-chairman said it is a moral obligation for everyone to be stewards of creation.

“…[It] is a life-long commitment for all and God has given us the wisdom and rational mind to weigh [its] advantages and disadvantages,” he said.

Southern Baptist Church Pastor Edsel Falcunitin said mining cannot be done in the island because it will destroy the island’s rich biodiversity.

The whole island of Tablas has been designated as Conservation Priority Area for amphibians, arthropods and reptiles, he said.

“We are [also] vulnerable to disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes because of Tablas fault,” he furthered.

For his part Aglipayan church Bishop Runel Fabriquer called the mining industry as an “institutional evil for it destroys the environment, our morality, [and] our relationships.”

“Lives and livelihoods of the people are sacrificed for the benefit of the chosen few,” Runer, who is also adviser of REFAM added.

“One life sacrificed is enough to awaken us. Every mineral in our province is now tainted with the blood of Councilor Armin Rios Marin, the first Romblomanon martyr,” continued Fabriquer.

Ivanhoe Philippines Inc., a wholly-owned unit of Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. of Canada, is applying for more 15,000 hectares on Tablas Island for gold and copper exploration comprising areas in the municipalities of Odiongan, San Andres, Calatrava, San Agustin, Sta. Maria, Alcantara and Looc.

A mining moratorium is currently in effect within the island. Romblon Governor Eduardo C. Firmalo, on January 10, signed an executive order declaring a mining moratorium in the province. (CBCPNews)

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