MAC: Mines and Communities

Church Leaders To Campaign Vs Pro-mining Poll Bets

Published by MAC on 2007-03-03
Source: GMA News TV

Church leaders to campaign vs pro-mining poll bets


3rd March 2007

SORSOGON CITY- Church leaders and anti-mining advocates in Albay province will launch their own campaign against candidates who favor mining operations, a bishop of the Catholic Church said.

Legaspi City auxiliary Bishop Lucilo Quiambao, said the mining issue is a "valid and very important issue" for the people of Albay which has to be addressed by those who would seek the votes of the people in their province.

Quiambao made the statement after a forum on mining by the Catholic Church Friday morning at the Divine Word College of Legaspi. The event coincided with the anniversary of the signing into law of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. The Legaspi prelate, however, said that the move has yet to be approved by the members of the diocese. He said he would take up the issue during the diocesan general assembly to get the approval and support of all the priests.

"I will also raise the issue of mining before the Bicol bishops when we have our gathering next month in the province of Sorsogon", he said.

Quiambao vowed that his group will continue resisting the operation of the Australian mining company in the island of Rapu-rapu. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources granted a permit to Lafayette Philippines, Inc. to resume operations amid the vehement opposition of Church leaders and non-government and peoples' organizations in the area.

The permit was granted after over a year of La Fayette's operations that caused two cyanide spills, earning howls of protests from anti-mining advocates. Quiambao said a signature campaign launched by various groups in Rapu-rapu island had already gained at least 8, 000 signatures and that it would be sent to the Lafayette investors once the campaign had been completed.

Meanwhile, Fr. Ino Bugaoisan said more organizations have joined them in their fight against mining on the island.

Bugaoisan, Rapu-rapu parish priest, said that aside from the Sagip-Isla, other organizations such Against Lafayette Mining Alliance (ALMA), Save Rapu-rapu Alliance (SARA), Umalpas Ka and Lambat-Bikol joined them in the call against mining operations.

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