Bishop joins green activists in calling for gov’t accountability on mining

March 10, 2022

A Catholic bishop joined environment activists in calling on the Philippine government to take responsibility for the impacts of mining in the country.

“In these last months of the [Rodrigo] Duterte presidency, we do not forget his broken promises and empty rhetoric concerning destructive mining,” said Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, head of the social action secretariat of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

“We also do not forget the culpability of [the Department of Environment and Natural Resources] who has been pro-active in promoting mining and justifies the flawed Mining Act of 1995,” added the prelate of Kidapawan.

Bishop Bagaforo joined a “creative protest action” in front of the DENR central office in Manila on Thursday, March 10, to mark the anniversary of the enactment of the Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7942) 27 years ago.

Dramatizing a strong message to the Duterte administration, the protesters “arrested and handcuffed” look-alikes of the president and a DENR official.

“For the past six years, Duterte and DENR have betrayed their mandate to conserve and protect our national resources as well as their responsibility to marginalized communities who are adversely impacted by mining,” said Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of the group Alyansa Tigil Mina.

“We also hold accountable the mining companies for their violations and non-compliance with the laws,” said Garganera.

“Duterte and DENR must pay for their betrayal of the environment and communities,” said Aaron Pedrosa of the group Sanlakas.

He said Duterte’s policies must be revoked and existing mining laws overhauled “to be replaced by new ones that put a premium on the environment and the interests of mining-affected communities.”

The protest action on Thursday was held simultaneously with various “creative actions” in mining “Sites of Struggles” as part of what the activists described as “Mining Hell Week” activities.

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