Tag Archives: catholic bishops conference

[Press Release] Church, Groups hail EU Vote on Conflict Minerals Regulation -PMPI

Church, Groups hail EU Vote on Conflict Minerals Regulation

“Because they should not fuel conflict!”
This is the major call of the newly approved draft regulation of the European Parliament on the so called “conflict minerals”, said Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive director of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA).

PMPI“CSOs and mining affected communities in the Philippines are happy on the vote of the EU parliament that would mean stricter policy for European companies involved in manufacturing and importing components and final products that contain minerals such as tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold.” Gariguez added.

On May 20, 2015, members of the EU parliament approved its proposed policy that would require companies to disclose or certify that they are not using minerals that fuels conflicts and human rights violation in Africa and other parts of the world.

Bishop Crispin B. Varquez of Borongan, Samar one of the bishops who signed the global petition to pass the said bill expressed that if put into law, the policy will contribute in the global efforts to stop harassment, human rights violation, and even militarization brought about mining in many communities like in the Philippines.

Yoly Esguerra, national coordinator of the Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) is positive that the European Council will also approve the proposed bill. “Although the bill will still have to go through long negotiation process and discussion with European Commission and the Council, we think that the message of the bill is clear and viable for EU businesses — that is to be responsible in all the areas of their dealings or their supply chain.” Esguerra added.

PMPI is network of about 300 civil society organizations and church-based groups in the Philippines working on four thematic concerns such as peace, sustainable agriculture, climate change and the anti-mining campaign.

EDEL S.GARINGAN
Project Officer, Anti-Mining Campaign
Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc.
09228501875

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[Event] Padyak para sa Katutubo at Kalikasan II (PKK II)

Indigenous Peoples Sunday
PADYAK PARA SA KATUTUBO AT KALIKASAN II (PKK II)
October 13-14, 2012

On October 14, the Church will celebrate the 35th Indigenous Peoples Sunday. A yearly event that started in 1978 by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, our Bishops have accepted and declared the second Sunday of October as Indigenous Peoples Sunday (formerly Tribal Filipino Sunday), thereby intending to call attention to the plight of our indigenous brothers and sisters who are so often exploited and discriminated against in our society.

To date, more than ten (10) million IPs, yearning for respect and survival, challenge us, their Christian brothers, to help redeem them from this undeserved situation. Their experience and aspiration remind us how life is interrelated with land as gift from the Creator, and the dignity of all women and men as children of God.

This year’s theme is “Evangelization and Inculturation”. Evangelization – the absorption of Gospel values, and Inculturation – expressing these values in terms that are understandable by the indigenous peoples and respectful of their cultural practices – go hand in hand.

And to muster the active participation of as many people as possible, a biking into the land of our indigenous sisters and brothers called “Padyak para sa Katutubo at Kalikasan II” is being proposed.

The Organizer: Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples (CBCP-ECIP), in coordination with the Vicariate of Calapan, Mangyan Mission, the Diocese of Kalibo, and the Atis of Boracay Island.

The Objectives 1. To raise awareness on the plight of our country’s indigenous peoples and the current situation of our environment;

2. In particular, to drum up support for our IP sisters and brothers of Oriental Mindoro facing the threat of mining and other ecological destructions, and to support the installation and occupation of Atis in their ancestral domain in Boracay Island; and

3. To promote biking for a healthy body and for a clean & sustainable environment.

The Event: As part of the Indigenous Peoples Sunday celebration, a two-day biking event that will start in the morning of October 13 in Calapan City and will end in the afternoon of October 14 in Brgy. Manoc-manoc, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan.

Call time at Batangas Pier on October 12 (Friday) at around 3 pm. We will get the 4 pm boat to Calapan City. Estimated time of arrival in Calapan City port at around 6 pm. We will bike from Calapan port to Barangay Lalud, Calapan City. In Lalud, we will take our dinner and accommodation at the Diocesan Pastoral Center.

On the morning of October 13, the bikers will proceed from Lalud to the Calapan Cathedral for a Eucharistic celebration at 6:00 AM. After the mass, the peleton will start and will stop at the following municipalities of Victoria (Breakfast), Pinamalayan (AM Snacks), Bongabong (Lunch) and Roxas (PM Snacks). A total of 124 kilometers from Calapan Cathedral to Roxas Pier. From Roxas, the participants will take a boat to Caticlan port, then another boat from caticlan to Boracay Island. From Boracay Port, the bikers will proceed to the ancestral domains of Ati in Barangay Manoc-manoc, Boracay Island and will spend the night in tents along Boracay white beach.

In the early morning of October 14, the actual IP Sunday, the bikers will go to the parish of the Most Holy Rosary for a Eucharistic celebration. Right after the mass, the parish will sponsor a breakfast for the bikers. After breakfast, a parade-procession with the bikers will proceed along the beach of Boracay going back to Barangay Manoc-manoc. A sponsored lunch from the supporters of Atis in Boracay Island and prepared by Ati themselves will be served for the bikers. A short program will follow. Between 2pm -5pm is free time, and call time for departure at 5:30 pm. We expect to board the 8 pm boat from Caticlan to Batangas City by 7 pm. Estimated time of arrival in Batangas City is around 5 am of October 15.

The Participants: Around 150 bike enthusiasts from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao are expected to participate, together with bishops, priests, lay and IP leaders.

There will be no registration fee for this Padyak para sa Katutubo at Kalikasan II. However, we are requiring the participants to shoulder their own transportation expenses. Specifically, the following are the regular boat fees (plus terminal and environmental fees in Boracay):

Batangas Pier to Calapan City – P 240.00 + P192.00 (bike)
Roxas, Or. Min. to Caticlan, Malay – P 460.00 + P368.00 (bike)
Caticlan to Boracay Island – P 50.00 + P 34.00 (bike) round trip
Caticlan to Batangas Pier – P 862.75 + P350.00 (bike)
Caticlan terminal Fee P 25.00
Boracay Envi Fee P 75.00
__________________

Total P1,712.75 + P944.00 = P2,656.75

We are still negotiating for discounts with Montenegro Shipping and To Go Travel. We will inform you as soon as we finish the negotiation.

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[In the news] RH bill, hindi tungkol sa sex at relihiyon, ayon kay Rep. Lagman -GMANews

RH bill, hindi tungkol sa sex at relihiyon, ayon kay Rep. Lagman
GMANews
July 28, 2012

Sa harap ng mga prayer vigil na isasagawa ng Simbahang Katoliko laban sa pagpasa ng Reproductive Health (RH) bill, muling iginiit ng isang kongresista ang pangangailangan na maisabatas ang kontrobersiyal na panukala.

Sa isang pahayag nitong Sabado, binigyan-diin ni Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, awtor ng RH bill, na hindi usapin tungkol sa relihiyon o pakikipagtalik ang isinusulong niyang panukalang batas.

“RH (bill) is not about sex and religion, it is about health, human rights and sustainable human development,” paliwanag niya.

Una rito, nanawagan si Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) sa publiko na magsagawa ng mga prayer vigil bago sumapit ang Agosto 7, ang araw na dedesisyunan ng Kamara de Representantes kung itutuloy o pagpapahingahin na ang pagtalakay sa kontrobersiyal na panukala.

Mariing tinututulan ng Simbahan ang naturang panukalang batas na nagsusulong paggamit ng artipisyal na paraan ng pagpaplano ng pamilya o paggamit ng mga contraceptive at iba pa.

Sa ipinalabas na pahayag ni Lagman, umaasa siyang didinggin din sa dasal ang umano’y daing ng kababaihan tungkol sa problema sa kanilang kalusugan, unwanted at teenage pregnancies at laganap na kahirapan na kasama umano sa nais matugunan sa RH bill.

God will listen to prayers which elevate human life and development, and not to supplications which denigrate people’s quality of life and children’s advancement,” ayon sa kongresista.

Read full article @ www.gmanetwork.com

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[Press Release] Mining digs holes on P-Noy’s ‘tuwid na daan’ -ATM

Mining digs holes on P-Noy’s ‘tuwid na daan’
Groups laud president’s call for environmental protection and fair revenue sharing before mining

President Aquino might have already realized that mining industry is a big challenge on his roadmap for good governance, said Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) reacting on P-Noy’s pronouncement in SONA that mining will not be allowed if it will result to environmental degradation.

“It’s a good indication that the president is recognizing that the current policy on mining has not guaranteed good returns in terms of revenue and economic benefits for the country and the local communities,” said Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of ATM.

ATM with its partner organizations also mentioned that P-Noy’s proposed reforms in the mining industry are already outlined in the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB) that is now being heard in the Natural Resources Committee in the House of Representatives and is supported by communities, civil society groups and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

On agricultural lands
In his SONA the president also enumerated his accomplishments in increasing the country’s agricultural productivity and exclaimed goals for exporting rice next year. However, the groups reminded the president that mining is posing threats to this aspiration.

“He should not forget the magnetite mining in MacArthur, Leyte that had caused two consecutive fish kills in Lake Bito this year and had ransacked vast agricultural land in the province,” said Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) and 2012 Goldman Prize Environmental Awardee.

Gariguez challenged the president to be true to his principle of going against the entities oppressing communities, “He should instruct environment secretary Ramon Paje to act quickly and with resolve on the issue against NICUA mining in Leyte that had deprived fisherfolk around Lake Bito of their livelihoods ”

On human rights violation
ATM reminded the president to also not forgive and forget the human rights violations of several mining firms in the country.

“He should bear in his mind that in January 2011, the Commission on Human Rights had recommended to him the revocation of the mining contract for Oceana Gold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI) in Nueva Vizcaya for committing grave violations against human rights of the communities opposing the mining project,” Garganera added.

ATM also lamented that while the president enumerated his accomplishments and targets in eradicating shortages in chairs and classrooms for Filipino students, many children and youth in Mindanao face threat of displacement because of the proposed Tampakan mining project in South Cotabato, and nearby provinces, especially in CARAGA region, known as the mining capital of the Philippines. Meanwhile, Pnoy tallied the improvements in the Armed Forces and the National Police, as civil society groups are also concerned with the increasing trends in extra-judicial killings in the country.

IP-blind
The group also lamented the apparent lack of recognition of indigenous peoples. Making up at least twelve million Filipinos, the IPs represent more than 10% of the population, are the most vulnerable and considered as the poorest among the poor. They are aslo the most threatened sector by mining. And yet, the whole 1-1/2 hours of the SONA failed to mention them, and their daily struggles against mining to protect their ancestral domains.

Ganun na lang ba’ yun?
“We can not just also forgive and forget mining firms that caused unbearable burden to the communities and the country as a whole. Even EO 79 will not solve the problem. Ganun na lang ba ‘yun? Of course not, if we want positive changes in our minerals management, then AMMB has to be passed immediately,” Garganera concluded.

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. 30)

For more information:

Fr Edu Gariguez, CBCP-NASSA Executive Secretary, 09198005595
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator – 09277617602
Farah Sevilla – policy@alyansatigilmina.net; 0915-3313361
Edel S. Garingan – communications@alyansatigilmina.net; 0922-8918972

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[Press Release] Farmers, fisherfolks file petition for Envi Protection Order against mining in MacArthur Leyte -ATM

Farmers, fisherfolks file petition for Envi Protection Order against mining in MacArthur Leyte

Said ‘water is life, and must be saved at all costs’

MacArthur, Leyte—Farmers and fisher folks in Leyte went to court and filed an application for Temporary Environmental Protection Order (EPO) to stop mining operation of Nicua Corporation inprime agricultural lands of Villa Imelda and adjacent barangays in MacArthur Leyte.

The plaintiffs led by Jesus Cabias, president of Unahin Lagi Natin ang Diyos – Bito Lake Fisherfolks Association (UNLAD-BLFA) and supported by Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC), assert their right to a healthy and safe environment against the destructive effects of mining in their farmlands and lake.

“Water is life and must be saved as all costs. Allowing mining to continue here will affect not only our primary source of water and livelihood but also the future generations,” said Cabias.

Two weeks ago, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) reported that contamination from oil and grease from the mining operations is one of the causes of the massive fish kill in Lake Bito.

Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines – National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (CBCP-NASSA) added, “Together with the Archdiocese of Palo and Alyansa Tigil Mina, we visited this area and found that the impacts of mining there are terrible and devastating. We call on the national offices to act on this, at the same time we hope that the Regional Trial Court can immediately hear our petition and issue a temporary environmental protection order to stop Nicua mining corporation from operating in the area.”

Cabias added, “Our problem is that the mining operation is encroaching in prime agricultural lands—we are talking about irrigated lands that were not even legally converted for otherPurposes. Their activities threaten our food security, right to clean water, and livelihood.”

The 30-page petition has been filed this morning at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 10 in Abuyog, Leyte but is yet to be given a case number by the RTC Judge next week.

Meanwhile, ELAC Lawyer Atty. Ronnan Reposadas is positive that an EPO will be issued against the mining company and that should be implemented immediately. He said, “We have a clear case here—the mining company is situated and directly affecting the agricultural lands and waters, and is a threat to the Bito watershed—and therefore impedes the right to a healthy environment of the communities.”

Environmental Protection Order or Temporary Environmental Protection Order (EPO/TEPO) are injunction orders under the new Environmental Rules of Court that directs or enjoins “any person or government agency to perform or desist from performing an act in order to protect, preserve or rehabilitate the environment.” This gives immediate relief on environmental issues.

“We do not understand why this company was even allowed to mine here—they are converting prime agricultural lands into mine sites that will render the lands useless afterwards,” concluded Garganera.

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The organization is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of Executive Order 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and the passage of the Philippine Mineral Resources Act a.k.a. Alternative Minerals Management Bill.
For more information:

Fr. Edu Gariguez, CBCP-NASSA – (0922) 834-8248 edugariguez@gmail.com
Jesus Cabias, (UNLAD-BLFA) – (0912) 433-7768
Atty. Ronnan Christian Reposar, ELAC – rcmr80@yahoo.com
Jaybee Garganera, Alyansa Tigil Mina – nc@alyansatigilmina.net

Press Release
June 25, 2012

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[Press Release] On World Environment Day, Green Groups and HR defenders ask: Ganun na lang ba ‘yun? -SOS-Yamang Bayan

On World Environment Day, Green Groups and HR defenders ask: Ganun na lang ba ‘yun?
DENR urged to support the passage of Philippine Minerals Resources Act of 2012

Manila – On this year’s World Environment Day, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) posed the question, “Green Economy: Does it include you”? But for more than two hundred green protesters and human rights defenders, the more important thing to ask is “Ganun na lang ba ‘yun?” – pertaining to environmental degradation and other atrocities of mining left unaddressed.

Disappointed at how mining is run in the country, farmers, indigenous peoples, church-groups and civil society organizations led by SOS-Yamang Bayan Network combined forces and blasted the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with bawls and placards on the ill effects of mining to the environment, water, livelihood and lives of communities and indigenous peoples in the country.

Policy Change

Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) Executive Secretary and 2012 Goldman Prize Environmental Awardee Fr. Edu Gariguez said that the campaign echoes the call of thousands of Filipinos affected by mining. “The message is simple — immediate change has to take place in the system and most importantly in the policies governing the mining industry.”

Gariguez emphasized that the Catholic Church, together with religious communities in the whole country, continue to call for the protection of the integrity of creation, and the promotion ofsustainable livelihoods and lifestyles.Mining now is a grave threat to the path of sustainable development.

Alyansa Tigil Mina National Coordinator Jaybee Garganera said that the protest highlighted the call to scrap the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 that aggressively promotes large-scale mining even as it failed to protect the country’s national patrimony.

“If DENR is true to its mandate of protecting the environment then it should support the passage of a new minerals management bill—also known as the Philippine Mineral Resources Act of 2012. The DENR should in fact ask the same question to the industry or the Chamber of Mines — ganun na lang ba ‘yun?” Garganera added.

Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC) executive director Atty. Grace Villanueva elaborated that “We need a paradigm shift in managing our mineral resources – a paradigm that puts people above private interests or private profits. The Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB) seeks to rationalize the use of minerals. When passed, the AMMB will be more responsive to the needs of the country and its people, as well as of generations to come. People and communities will be priority, and not merely the interest of giant corporations and first world economies.” LRC is also the lead convenor of SOS-Yamang Bayan Network.

Human Rights Violations and Abuses
The group also bewails the escalation of social conflicts and human rights violations and abuses associated with mining that include extrajudicial killings of anti-mining activists in the country.

Dr. Nymia Pimentel Simbulan, executive director of Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights) said “We demand justice and decisive actions on the part of government to put a stop to human rights violations perpetrated by state agents, especially the military, in mining-affected communities. Militarization, filing of trumped-up charges against anti-mining advocates, harassment & violent demolitions are common occurrences in these areas.

“The government has not done any effective action against extra-judicial killings of environmental activist. Francisco Canayong of Salcedo, Leyte is the latest victim to which the government has not taken any effective action. Responsible mining as it is being promoted by government is only directed to ensure sustainability of mining operations but lacks the perspective of protecting the people,” added Atty. Mario Maderazo of Philippine Miserior Partnership Inc. – Anti-Mining Campaign.

Biodiversity loss

Contrary to claims that ‘there is life in mining’, Haribon Foundation Inc. a member of SOS-Yamang Bayan network, insisted that there can be no life when an act destroys life itself.

Anabelle Plantilla, Chief Operating Officer of Haribon Foundation affirmed that mining has threatened and destroyed some of the very sources of life in this planet. “The fragile ecosystems where we get so much from in terms of ecological services, including water, fresh air, protection from natural hazards, and capture and storage of greenhouse gases – if these things are gone, we too are gone. Ganun na lang ba ‘yun?”

Economics of mining

Meanwhile, the group also questioned the low share of mining in the development of the country.

“Over a decade, since the year 2000, mining industry and quarrying combined, accounted only for less than one percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. They are not contributing fully to the Philippine economy, even their rants on being a good ticket for this country to get out from poverty is a still a big question. We are not earning enough from mining, ganun na lang ba ‘yun?” said Cielo Magno coordinator of Bantay Kita, a mining revenue watchdog.

Mining and Climate Change
Meanwhile, the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), co-organizer of the action, asserted that the sources of destruction of our natural ecosystem such as mining and other extractive activities must be thoroughly regulated and aimed at producing only what is needed to sustain life and ensure people’s rights and well-being, rather than for profit generation. The negative impacts on environment and the adaptive capacities of communities must be minimized, and environmental rehabilitation and restorative programs must be implemented.

“Mining involves several activities that generate greenhouse gas emissions as well as diminish the earth’s capacity to absorb greenhouse gases (GHGs) — thus contributing to the increase of what is already an excessive GHG concentration in the atmosphere. Excessive GHG concentration is the cause of global warming.” said Lidy Nacpil, convenor of PMCJ.

“Mining not only contributes to climate change, it exacerbates the impacts. For instance, water is a vital resource that is already heavily impacted by climate change. Mining as a water-intensive industry leads to further reduction of water supply and access by communities for both domestic and agricultural needs. It also fuels climate disasters, like what happened in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.” she further added.

The group brought a backhoe miniature to demonstrate how mining operations wreak havoc to the environment and destroy biodiversity. The protesters also held a mass die-in to show that there are lives being killed by mining.

Protests also in many other areas

Four other sites in the country also mounted their call against mining. In Cebu, protesters camped in front of DENR regional office to press their stand to conserve the environment. Demonstrators in Iligan had a forum with the officials of various government agencies and discussed the issues brought about by mining and other environmental destructive activities.

In Palawan, advocates pronounced their call in local radio programs, while in Dipolog City and Municipality of Ipil in Zamboanga, local parishes raised their concerns with mass prayer.

___
The SOS-Yamang Bayan Network is a national, multi-sectoral movement composed of individual advocates, mining-affected communities, national peoples’ alliances, environmental organizations and networks, church-based organizations, human rights organizations, national NGOs, sectoral organizations from the indigenous peoples, youth, women, farmers, Congressional representatives, leaders and personalities advocating for the repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and the enactment of a new minerals management bill.

For more information, contact the SOS-Yamang Bayan Network Secretariat:
Gerry Arances – gerry.arances@lrcksk.org; 0922-8307758
Farah Sevilla – policy@alyansatigilmina.net; 0915-3313361
Edel S. Garingan – communications@alyansatigilmina.net; 0922-8918972

SOS-Yamang Bayan Network – Press Release
June 5, 2012

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[In the news] Abp Quevedo to GPH, MILF: peace possible without sacrificing RSD or nat’l sovereignty and territorial integrity -MindaNews

MindaNews » Abp Quevedo to GPH, MILF: peace possible without sacrificing RSD or nat’l sovereignty and territorial integrity.

By Carolyn O. Arguillas
April 3, 2012

COTABATO CITY– The peace process between government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) can succeed because the paramount concerns of both parties – territorial integrity and national sovereignty for the government and right to self-determination (RSD) for the MILF — are politically acceptable and the other issues are negotiable, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo said.

Quevedo,  president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines during the  “all-out war” waged by the Estrada administration against the MILF in 2000 and the Buliok war waged by the Aquino administration in 2003, wrote on April 2 a seven-point “unsolicited advice” for the two panels to consider (see Quevedo letter),  as he expressed optimism “lasting peace can be achieved without sacrificing either RSD or national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Of Quevedo’s seven-points, one was addressed directly to government (GPH), two to the MILF,  three to both panels and one to the MILF and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

MindaNews emailed Quevedo’s piece to GPH peace panel chair Marvic Leonen and MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal for comment but Leonen opted not to comment “for now.” Iqbal responded point by point.

Quevedo admitted reluctance in expressing his thoughts publicly on the peace process “until the news came that it might break down.”

Read full article @ www.mindanews.com

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[Press Release] IP solon notes rejection of mining at local level

IP solon notes rejection of mining at local level

Photo source: kayanatin.org

“We’re seeing a wave of local ordinances declaring their corresponding jurisdictions as mining-free zones and asserting moratoriums on open pit mining, which can only mean that at the local level, people are rejecting mining.”

Thus remarked Cong. Teddy Brawner Baguilat (Lone District, Ifugao) at the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Forum last Tuesday at Intramuros, Manila.

Baguilat observed that Davao City, Capiz, Zamboanga Sur, Romblon, Nueva Vizcaya, and a number of other local governments, are passing ordinances banning mining in their territories.

“Some Congressmen are even passing resolutions calling a stop to mining in their districts or provinces,” Baguilat added.

Baguilat said that these measures indicated that people are disappointed with the effect of mining in their lives and livelihood.

“I have yet to encounter a mining project that has clearly benefited the host community,” Baguilat said.

“Thus far, what we are hearing about are environmental damage like polluted water systems and cave-ins, and tension or conflict in indigenous communities affected by mining interests,” Baguilat added.

Baguilat’s statements come at the heels of fresh debates on the viability of mining, and at a time when Malacanang is pondering an Executive Order that will reportedly provide the master plan for mining industries in the country.

“What we need is a new framework for mining that departs from the antiquated Mining Act of 1995,” Baguilat proposed.

Such a framework, according to Baguilat, is provided by the proposed Mineral Resources Act or the Alternative Minerals Management Bill.

“This proposed law seeks to regulate the rational exploration, development and use of mineral resources, and ensure equitable sharing of benefits among the government, indigenous peoples and local communities,” Baguilat explained.

“This framework departs from earlier mining laws and policies that focused on extracting minerals without looking after the impact of those activities on communities and the environment,” Baguilat added.

Baguilat thus hoped that there would be sufficient support to pass the proposed Mineral Resources Act. ##

For further information, please contact the Office of Rep. Teddy Baguilat at 931-5106 or at email address teddy.ifugaocongress@gmail.com.

[In the news] Church backs repeal of Apeco law; cites abuses in free port project -INQUIRER.net

Church backs repeal of Apeco law; cites abuses in free port project.

By Tonette Orejas
Inquirer Central Luzon
February 21, 2012

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—A bill has been filed seeking the repeal of a law that created the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (Apeco), drawing the support of the Church in a statement pointing to alleged abuses committed in pursuit of the project.

Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano filed the bill on Monday, about two years after Republic Act No. 10083 (Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Act of 2010) was enacted in April 2010 to amend RA 9490 creating the Aurora Special Economic Zone (Aseza) in 2001. Both bills were sponsored by Sen. Edgardo Angara and his son, Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara.

Lapsed into law

“After its passage in 2010, [former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo] was supposed to sign it in 30 days. However [Arroyo] failed to sign it or veto it. So it is moot and academic that the law was passed officially by the gesture of Malacañang,” Mariano told the Inquirer.

The Apeco law mainly expanded the free port’s coverage to 12,923 hectares, he said in the bill’s explanatory note.
Lands marked for agrarian reform, reservations and those covered by ancestral domain claims have been covered by Apeco, he said.
Mariano said the local government and residents were not informed or consulted about Aseza or Apeco, violating their right to due process.

Enriching the few

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the Church supports the move to repeal the Apeco law.

The law merely enriches “the few, while sacrificing the interest of the poor,” said Pabillo, who also chairs the National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
Pabillo urged President Aquino to take a closer look at Apeco and suspend its operations and budget, which has been slashed from P3.5 billion to P332.5 million.

“We challenge the sincerity of this government and we hope it starts by upholding the well-being of the poor over the designs of powerful politicians behind questionable legislation like Apeco,” said Pabillo.

Indigenous peoples, farmers and fishermen in Aurora sought the help of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in their campaign against Apeco.
CHR Chair Loretta Ann Rosales said she would ask the commission en banc to support the repeal of the Apeco law because of the human rights violations that were committed in the course of building the free port.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

[In the news] CBCP seeks review of laws on mining, logging -GMA News

CBCP seeks review of laws on mining, logging
GMA News
February 4, 2012

Stressing the need to protect the environment, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines urged the government to review its policies on mining and logging.

The CBCP said these policies must be fine-tuned to prevent a repeat of environment-related tragedies that occurred in the last several weeks.

“We take the occasion to make an appeal particularly to the authorities concerned that our prayer and appeal is to make a serious revisit of many of our laws like our logging laws and practices as well as mining laws and development plans,” said CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, in an article posted on the CBCP news site.

Read full article @ www.gmanetwork.com

[In the news] Bishops: No strong statement on impeachment – INQUIRER.net

Bishops: No strong statement on impeachment
By Jocelyn R. Uy, Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 30, 2012

 MANILA, Philippines—The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said its plenary council won’t make a “strong” statement on the ongoing impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona but may exhort the faithful to pray for the senators who are trying the case.

“Unlike in past CBCP [meetings], where we felt the people were expecting a strong statement [from us], this time we feel that the sentiment of the people in general is that they trust that the Senate will do its job,” said CBCP president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma in an interview with reporters Friday.

The CBCP Plenary Council is the highest decision-making body of the Catholic Church hierarchy in the Philippines. The three-day assembly attended by more than 100 bishops across the country at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila is the first under the new leadership.

Palma took over as the head of the Church hierarchy in December after Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar’s two-year term ended.

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[In the news] Bishops begin plenary assembly, may tackle Corona impeachment | Sun.Star

Bishops begin plenary assembly, may tackle Corona impeachment | Sun.Star.

January 28, 2012

 MANILA–At least a hundred bishops from various dioceses across the country will meet to tackle church and pressing national concerns for their three-day plenary assembly at Pope Pius XII Center.

However, it is not immediately known if the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) will issue a statement regarding the ongoing impeachment trial against Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, who has since rejected calls to leave his post.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Church official scored for spreading ‘misinformation’ on RH bill – SunStar.com.ph

Church official scored for spreading ‘misinformation’ on RH bill
SunStar.com.ph
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

  MANILA—A women’s group hit a Catholic Church official for allegedly insinuating that the Reproductive Health bill may end up like the impeachment complaint of Chief Justice Renato Corona, whose ouster by the House of Representatives last month was allegedly railroaded.

Father Melvin Castro of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Family and Life was criticized by Elizabeth Angsioco, national chairperson of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP) for supposedly issuing unfair and absurd statements.

“Is this a case of selective amnesia? Fr. Castro knows well that the RH Bill has been pending in Congress for more than a decade and that it has been the subject of discussion from the committee level up to plenary sessions in both chambers of Congress,” Angsioco said.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph