Caritas Philippines hits Duterte for lifting ban on new mines

Caritas Philippines hits Duterte for lifting ban on new mines

This Nov. 18, 2014 file photo shows miners carry sacks of ore in Itogon, Benguet, located north of Manila. PHOTO BY ROY LAGARDE

By CBCP News

April 16, 2021

Manila, Philippines

The Catholic Church’s social action arm criticized the Duterte administration for lifting a moratorium on new mining agreements.

Caritas Philippines said the decision will only favor business interests than the people, especially the poor and marginalized communities.

“The government has again chosen vested interests and profit over our suffering people and ecology,” said its national director Bishop Jose Collin Bagaforo.

President Rodrigo Duterte on April 14 allowed the government to enter into new mining deals to supposedly generate jobs and spur countryside growth.

The decision lifted a 9-year moratorium on new mining deals imposed by former President Benigno Aquino III in 2012.

Bagaforo, who is also the bishop of Kidapawan, asked the government to “reconsider the lifting of the mining moratorium”.

“We are in the countryside, and we are seeing no economic improvement in the lives of the people from mining,” he lamented.

Bagaforo’s position was echoed by Archbishop Ricardo Baccay of Tuguegarao that leads the Caritas’ Eco-Convergence Hub in Luzon.

He said that the off-shore mining in Cagayan province, which was devastated by massive flooding in 2020, is likely to bring more harm than good once it will be fully operational.

“The magnetite mining is projected to exacerbate flooding, and cause massive erosion in coastal and near shore areas, which might again cause the loss of lives,” Baccay said.

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos, which is the lead of Eco-Convergence Hub in the Visayas, reiterated their stance against the proposed coal mining in Negros Occidental province.

“We challenge our government officials, to restore the dignity of your office by siding with our people and the ecology. Let your legacy be in the defense of ecology and justice,” he said.


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