Supporting Statement From Bishop Zacarias C. Jimenez, DdPublished by MAC on 2007-01-24
Supporting statement from Bishop Zacarias C. Jimenez, DD
Chair Coordinating Team ECIP, Mindanao
24th January 2007
"Reading the Mining in the Philippines - Concerns and Conflicts, Fact Finding Mission to the Philippines Report, I deplore and lament with the prophets of old what is happening to our beloved land. Our own experiences here in Mindanao validate the report.
“ 'Remember, O Lord, what has come upon us; look, and behold our reproach! Our inheritance has been turned over to aliens, and our houses to foreigners. We have become orphans and waifs, our mothers are like widows. We pay for the water we drink, and our wood comes at a price. They pursue at our heels; we labour and have no rest. We have given our hand to the Egyptians and the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread. Our fathers sinned and are no more, but we bear their iniquities.' (Lamentations 5:1-5)
" I chair the Episcopal Commission on Indigenous People – Mindanao and have been to many workshops with our indigenous people’s representatives all over Mindanao in the past three years. I heard their stories of anguish, saw them cry as they narrate their deplorable state, and I feel their anger against the game that our power-hungry national and local government officials are playing with them in alliance with greedy corporations. The situation is at its worst at the present moment.
" The very government that is supposed to protect their rights is the very one abusing them, manipulating them, turning many of their leaders into “Tribal Dealers”. The very people, save a few, we elected to supposedly ensure their basic need of food, shelter and clothing, created laws that instead further the interests of foreigners, investors, multi-national corporations and have turned these laws into a “machinery of death” for our indigenous peoples and their precious culture.
"What is worst is their deception. They are the modern Trojans bringing gifts of empty promises of progress and development. TIMEO DANAOS DONA FERENTES! I fear the Greeks bringing gifts … to our people.
"I also condemn all forms of harassment by government agencies against the people, foreigner and local, who are working in whatever way to help the situation of our indigenous peoples.
"I strongly endorse the Statement on Mining Issues and Concerns of our Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), President:
" To support, unify and strengthen the struggle of the local Churches and their constituency against all mining projects, and raise the anti-mining campaign at the national level;
"To support the call of various sectors, especially the Indigenous Peoples, to stop the 24 Priority Mining Projects of the government, and the closure of large-scale mining projects, for example, the Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project in Albay, HPP Project in Palawan, Didippio Gold-Copper Project in Nueva Vizcaya, Tampakan Copper-gold Project in South Cotabato, Canatuan Gold Project in Zamboanga del Norte, and the San Antonio Copper Project in Marinduque, among others;
"To support the conduct of studies on the evil effects of mining in dioceses;
"To support all economic activities that are life-enhancing and poverty-alleviating.
"God help our indigenous brothers and sisters …. Our precious land … all of us!
[Bishop Jimenez is the Auxiliary Bishop of Butuan and a former bishop of Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur. He was born November 5, 1948 in Inabanga, Island of Bohol . He was ordained Bishop in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy on January 6, 1995.]
Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples-Mindanao