Catholic bishops, churches back Lumads and Moro groups in anti-mining summit in DipologPublished by MAC on 2006-01-15
Catholic bishops, churches back Lumads and Moro groups in anti-mining summit in Dipolog
15th January 2006
For reference: SR. DIANE CABASAGAN, RGS, Convenor
Environment advocates from Catholic and Protestant churches, including at least 2 Catholic bishops, are uniting with indigenous peoples, Moro and farmers groups in a Mindanao-wide conference to call for the scrapping of the Mining Act of 1995 which they say "threatens the nation's patrimony and future."
The Mindanao-wide Interfaith Conference on Mining Plunder will be held in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte on January 17 -21, 2006 and is hosted by Panalipdan! Mindanao, a Mindanao-wide alliance of anti-largescale mining advocates.
Bishops Jose Manguiran and Zacharias Jimenez, known among members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines for their pro-environment advocacies, lead anti-mining luminaries gracing the occasion.
The conference seeks to be a "gathering of actions, not just of words" and organizers hope it will lead towards tangible actions to frustrate actual mining incursions in communities. Anti-mining advocates seek to sharpen strategies to meet head-on transnational mining companies which are using their immense resources to spin lies and myths about the economic benefits to be gained from mining.
The conference will formulate plans for a Mindanao-wide advocacy on the impact of large-scale mining on communities, such as displacements, loss of livelihood, and human rights abuses. It will also prepare events to meet the upcoming anniversary of the signing of the Mining Act on March 5.
The conference will begin with a Mindanao-wide Indigenous Peoples Conference on Mining on January 17 to 18. A talk on indigenous people's rights, ancestral domain will be given by the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC-Friends of the Earth); and this will be followed by an input on the indigenous people's situation from the Kalipunan ng mga Katutubo sa Pilipinas (KAMP).
The interfaith conference follows on January 19 to 21. Other topics include the globalization of the mining industry to be given by the Cordillera People's Alliance, and the alternative people's agenda on mining to be discussed by the Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment.
The host region, Western Mindanao, is fitting for the event as it is prey to many mining applications and explorations. Canadian firm TVI Resources, for example, is facing stiff opposition from churches, Lumad and Moro communities in the town of Siocon.