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Marbel diocese launches signature drive against open-pit mining

Marbel diocese launches signature drive against open-pit mining

Bishop Cerilo Casicas of Marbel. SCREENSHOT/DIOCESE OF MARBEL

By CBCP News

August 18, 2021

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic diocese has embarked on a signature drive against a copper and gold mine project in southern Philippines.

The Diocese of Marbel particularly wants provincial officials to keep the ban on open-pit mining in South Cotabato.

It said that the province’s environment code and its provision that specifically prohibits open-pit mining must be upheld.

The diocese demanded for the officials to stand firm in their duty to ensure the safety and well-being of their constituents.

“This is the right thing to do and to ensure that the future generations inherit a better society enjoying the fruits of a sound environment,” it said in a statement.

Sagittarius Mines Inc., the company that owns the mining project holds a 25-year mining permit in the area but was suspended in 2020 in compliance with the provincial ban on mining in the province.

In renewing its opposition to the Tampakan mining project, the diocese said that it “failed to convince us that it will bring genuine development”.

Bishop Cerilo Casicas of Marbel led the launching of the campaign in Koronadal City on August 16.

The prelate urged the faithful to help promote the campaign online. He said that areas without internet connection will be reached through the Basic Ecclesial Communities.

Caritas Philippines also called on Filipinos to support the campaign, saying that the project “will never be in favor of the general welfare of the province”.

“We are not convinced that it will bring genuine economic freedom to our impoverished communities, nor justice to the deteriorating Mindanao ecosystem,” it said.

The church’a social action arm also called on concerned government agencies to honor the ancestral domains, traditions and interests of the indigenous peoples.

“We know what is the right thing to do. Let us do it now. Collectively together,” it said. (With reports from Aimee Yeo)

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