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CBCP CALLS FOR HALT TO MINING IN RP (Philippines)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 9, 2008

First Posted 20:46:00 12/09/2008

by Dona Pazzibugan – Philippine Daily Inquirer

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER’

MANILA, Philippines – The Catholic Church leadership said on Tuesday the Arroyo administration should immediately halt mining operations due to the “uncontrollable plunder” of the country’s natural resources.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) made the call in a pastoral letter it issued on December 8 titled, “Upholding the Sanctity of Life.”

It has been 20 years since the CBCP last issued a pastoral letter on the environment which was titled, “What is happening to our beautiful land?”

In its latest pastoral letter, which would be read in all Church masses, the CBCP called for a moratorium on mining activities “until the government and the mining companies learn to uphold the rights of the indigenous peoples, compensate the affected communities for past damage and ensure responsible mining activities.”

The CBCP assailed the mining industry for its “poor record of community accountability.”

It said mining companies “have systematically engaged in the rape of Mother Earth and left a legacy of impoverished communities and environmental despoliation.”

Hitting the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the CBCP said most of the mining projects were given an environmental compliance certificate “without securing the free prior and informed consent of the affected communities.”

The bishops said the government compromised the country’s long-term development goals due to its “uncontrolled and poorly regulated exploitation” of mineral resources.

“The Mining Act of 1995 encourages the exploitation by granting priority access rights to water and timber. Communities are slowly eased out of their land as expansion sites granted with mining permits and clearances affect considerable portions of land utilized for agriculture,” the CBCP said.

The CBCP also called for a stop to illegal logging and “multisectoral cooperation” would be necessary to stop the threat to the country’s forests.

It said most of the country’s watersheds have been denuded through land conversion that was aggravated by slash-and-burn farming and illegal logging.

The CBCP called on the government to enforce a total commercial log ban and to intensify efforts to reforest denuded areas vulnerable to earthquakes, landslides and floods.

The CBCP also supported making use of healthier and less destructive sources of energy such as those from wind and solar energies, water and geothermal resources.

“The challenge to preserve our beautiful land may be difficult but not impossible,” the CBCP said, adding “no material gain can equate with the value of life.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER’ (USA)

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One Response to “CBCP CALLS FOR HALT TO MINING IN RP (Philippines)”

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