Bishop calls for prayer, fasting against mining in South Cotabato
Bishop Cerilo Casicas of the Diocese of Marbel in South Cotabato province. SCREEN GRAB FROM CHRIST THE KING CATHEDRAL FACEBOOK PAGE
By Roy Lagarde
May 27, 2022
A Catholic bishop in southern Philippines appealed to his flock to turn to prayer and fasting after South Cotabato province opened its doors to big-scale mining projects.
Bishop Cerilo Casicas of Marbel on May 27 launched a nine-day novena, asking the faithful “to storm heavens with our prayers, begging God to intervene and pour wisdom to the decision makers”.
He invited the faithful to observe any form of fasting “as a way of expressing our contrition for the sins we have committed against the environment”.
The prelate made the call after local legislators recently overturned a 12-year-old ban on open-pit mining in the province.
The move would pave the way for large-scale mining operations, including the Sagittarius Mines Inc.’s $5.9 billion Tampakan gold-copper project.
The Tampakan project is touted as one of the largest untapped copper-gold deposits in Southeast Asia and among the biggest in the world.
It is also reportedly expected to yield an average of 375,000 tons of copper and 360,000 ounces of gold annually.
Bishop Casicas was visibly dismayed by the decision, criticizing what he called the “cowardly action of our local leaders”.
“The decision was deeply lamentable,” according to him but said the diocese will continue to fight “for the welfare of our common home — the Earth!”
“We fight for the people of South Cotabato and its neighboring municipalities,” he added. “We fight for our environment for ‘we know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor paints until now’.”
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