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Faith groups urge Duterte to reconsider lifting of mining ban

Faith groups urge Duterte to reconsider lifting of mining ban

A nickel mining site in Surigao del Sur. JUN SANTIAGO III, CSsR

By CBCP News

April 23, 2021

Manila, Philippines

A coalition of faith-based organizations appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to bring back the moratorium on new mining projects.

The Philippine FBO Forum, in a statement, said that the temporary benefits of mining are not worth the long-term costs to the country’s fragile and valuable natural environment.

Among its signatories include Fr. Antonio Labiao of Caritas Philippines, Bishop Reuel Norman Marigza of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines and Bishop Noel Pantoja of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches.

“We call on President Duterte to reconsider the lifting on the ban on new mining permits,” the religious leaders said.

“The short-term benefit is not commensurate with the long-term destruction and loss on our ecosystem and in the future of our country,” they said.

Duterte has earlier removed a nine-year moratorium on new mineral agreements in the country to increase revenues, raising concerns among environmental advocates.

The faith leaders raised “grave alarm” over Duterte’s action “since our country’s vulnerability to disasters caused by climate change continues to worsen”.

This may also lead, according to them, to the entry of many mining companies, if and when the 291 filed mining applications are approved.

Mining companies, they claimed, are “notorious” for violating safety standards for their workers, affected communities and the environment.

“Our people have been victims of the destructive effects of large-scale mining on our forests, rivers, lakes, seas, air and on our biodiversity,” they said.

They also said that human rights violations are “rampant” in areas where mining activities take place, especially against indigenous peoples, peasants, fisher folks and environmental defenders.

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