Bishop rallies faithful to defend environment after gov’t lifts mining ban

Bishop rallies faithful to defend environment after gov’t lifts mining ban

Bishop Raul Dael leads Earth Day celebration in the Diocese of Tandag. PHOTO COURTESY OF TANDAG DIOCESE

By CBCP News

April 22, 2021

Tandag City, Surigao del Sur

On Earth Day, a Catholic bishop rallied the people in mineral-rich Surigao del Sur to unite in protecting the environment after the government lifted a ban on new mining deals.

Bishop Raul Dael of Tandag urged the people to be steadfast, assuring them that the diocese will never back down on its mission to “care for the creation”.

“We will never give up in protecting, preserving and allowing the fruitfulness of our creation to be witnessed in abundance,” Dael said.

When people act in unity and faith, according to him, there is nothing to fear even if it means risking their lives.

“Because to die for others, to die for the blessings of God is worth our life, worth our time, and worth our efforts,” he said.

The bishop on Thursday led the diocese in celebrating this year’s Earth Day at the San Isidore Parish in Madrid town.

The two-day events, which started yesterday, involved diocesan-wide tree planting activities, coastal clean-up, and symposiums on environmental issues, with a focus on environmental justice.

President Rodrigo Duterte recently lifted a moratorium on new mineral projects imposed in 2012, in a controversial move aimed at boosting state coffers.

The mining industry welcomed the executive order that was released on April 15, but has dismayed the environmental advocates.

Dael said the government decision may be a “disappointment”, but with it, also “opportunities so that we will become more united”.

“We will become stronger as a people and we will never give up,” he said. “The future of humanity depends on how we take good care of the whole creation.”

The prelate then appealed to authorities to stop red-tagging and harassment of environment defenders for doing what the government is supposed to be doing.

Instead, officials “should be thankful” because “we are doing the responsibility that belongs to them,” Dael said.


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