Bishops push for greater mining accountability

Bishops push for greater mining accountability

Bishop Cerilo Casicas of Marbel and Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo of Kidapawan join a dialogue with mining-affected communities in South Cotabato on Oct. 9. PHOTO FROM PMPI

By CBCP News

October 14, 2019

Manila, Philippines

Mindanao bishops have joined the initiative for the government to hold mining firms accountable for the environmental and social impacts of the industry.

Bishops Cerilo Casicas of Marbel and Jose Colin Bagaforo of Kidapawan said that mining-affected communities never had an effective way to hold mining firms accountable.

In a conference organized by the Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) in Kidapawan, South Cotabato on Oct. 9, they said that it’s a major concern that needs to be addressed with “urgency”.

The conference also served as a venue for dialogue between the bishops and representatives of mining-affected communities from across the country.

Bagaforo, the incoming head of the National Secretariat for Social Action, expressed his deep commitment to take on the issues of mining-affected communities within the Church.

“The role of the social action centers in the dioceses for the protection of the environment is more important now than ever before,” he said.

For his part, Casicas stressed that “the work for justice and the work for the protection of the creation appears to us as constitutive to our work on evangelization.”

He also stressed that the Church’s work on “the care for our common home” rests not only on the bishops and the clergy but on the laypersons as well.

The prelate added that empowering communities should be a primordial concern of civil society groups.

The biannual conference was part of PMPI’s commitment to building strong linkages with local communities and dioceses.

“This conference is special for the mining-affected communities. They were able to converse directly with their Pastors and share how their lives have been negatively affected by mining,” said Yoly Esguerra, National Coordinator of PMPI.

She also stressed the need for more dialogue and greater cooperation “given the extent of the environmental crisis we are facing today”.