By Janice M. Cave
MANILA, Philippines – Calling mining operations as unethical, a group of Roman Catholic and Protestant prelates has urged government to repeal the mining law and to issue a moratorium on large-scale mining.
In a joint statement, the Ecumenical Bishops Forum expressed alarm over the excessive mining operations by both local and foreign firms particularly in Southern Luzon and Bicol.
“Destructive mining is blatantly unethical, unjust, and senseless for it exacerbates poverty, causes dislocation of livelihood of the people, and even threatens the base of life and life itself,” the statement said.
The group cited several areas in Bicol province where large-scale mining has become prevalent, causing environmental degradation in the area.
They labeled the mining venture in Matnog, Sorsogon as “a deeper quagmire of maldevelopment of mining”, claiming operations there have turned from a small-scale to a large-scale operation.
Matnog has been declared as a geologically hazardous area being prone to landslide and flooding, according to the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau.
“It has been proven that the negative costs of mining operations far outweigh the gains,” the statement said.
In liberalizing the mining industry, the prelates said the government has failed to protect the environment and the people by favoring businessmen.
“Thus, to further liberalize the mining industry in favor of the mining corporations as being trumpeted by the Aquino administration will mean more suffering and death, dislocation, displacement and ruin of the environment,” it said. (PNA)