CBCP: "Repeal Mining Act of 1995"
31 January 2005---The Roman Catholic Bishops' apprehension remains, if not heightened, eight years after they issued a "Statement of Concern on the Mining Act of 1995."
On Sunday, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) reiterated its demand for the government to repeal the Republic Act 1942 known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, recall all approved mining concessions and cancel pending application, claiming that the mining act "destroys life."
The bishops said that the guaranteed economic benefits of mining by transnational corporations are outweighed by dislocation of communities, the risks to health and livelihood, and massive environmental damage and the loss of mining resources to giant foreign companies.
The Philippines has the fifth largest mineral resources in the world.
"Our experiences of environmental tragedies and incidents with the mining transnational corporations belie all assurances of sustainable and responsible mining that the Arroyo Administration is claiming," the bishops said.
They lamented the rising figure of mining affected communities, human rights violations and economic depravations.
"We see no relief in sight," they added.
The prelates sought the help of religious leaders and communities in pressuring the government to repeal the mining act for the sake of the present and incoming generations.
"As shepherds, we remind the faithful of God's injunction to us through our first parents to care for and cultivate the Earth," they said. "As believers, we should live a lifestyle that is outwardly simple yet inwardly rich and compassionate to the Earth community."
The Arroyo administration has dynamically encouraged foreign mining companies to invest in the country to create more jobs and augment the debilitating economy.
The Catholic Bishops also said that the Mining Act will certainly destroy both environment and people and will lead to national unrest. (See full text of the Statement) (Roy Q. Lagarde)