Traders, bishops seek mining moratorium in Bicol

Alyansa Laban sa Mina sa Matnog (ALMMA) stage picket infront of Matnog Municipal Hall. PHOTO BY ANGEL AYALA/
Alyansa Laban sa Mina sa Matnog (ALMMA) stage picket infront of Matnog Municipal Hall. PHOTO BY ANGEL AYALA/

MANILA (18-April-2012) – Businessmen and Catholic bishops are united in their concern over the government’s mining aggression particularly in Bicol region.

In a statement, the Bishops-Businessmen Conference (BBC) believes that the region is vulnerable to heavy rains and thus prone to the spilling of acid mine drainage as shown by past mining operations.

It said noted that the Total Economic Valuation that should form part of the new mining policy guidelines will likely validate the public clamor that mining should no longer be allowed in Bicol.

“Hence, an immediate moratorium on mining is, at the least called for in the meantime, if the irreversible damages that mining brings are to be avoided,” part of the BBC statement read.

The organization made the statement Wednesday as the expressed support on the anti-mining stance of Bicol prelates.

They too believed that the environmental destruction, economic dislocation and health impacts wrought by mining operations are a great injustice to Bicolanos.

While BBC acknowledged the efforts of the Aquino administration to look into various concerns on mining, it said the adverse impacts of mining in the existing operations and in the prospect of more of the same “must be immediately addressed.”

“President Aquino has promised that he will not allow mining where the local peoples and communities directly affected by it object to its operations,” the BBC added.

“It is time for him to incorporate this promise in the new Mining Policy Guidelines and to apply it specifically to the situation in the Bicol Region.”

“There are proven alternatives to mining in the region, such as the development of eco-tourism as well as the rehabilitation of prime agricultural lands and municipal fisheries that will better serve the interests and future of the region on government revenues, livelihood and employment opportunities, food security and environmental protection,” it said. [CBCPNews]

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