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Interfaith groups march to international mining confab venue to reject miners

Interfaith groups march to international mining confab venue to reject miners
Solemn prayer offered for victims of mining-related violence, tragedies

Photo by ATM

Photo by ATM

A hundred-strong Church leaders, seminarians, lay and community representatives marched to Sofitel Plaza Hotel carrying torches and candles formed “STOP MINING” on Monday (September 9, 2013).

Groups led by the Association of the Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP), CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) and Faith-based Congress Against Immoral Debts held a liturgical prayer and cultural celebration on the eve of the opening of an International Mining Conference.

Fr. Marlon Lacal, O.Carm, executive secretary of the AMRSP led the prayer. He said, “We call on the people behind mining-related tragedies, killings, and violence, put a stop to these. We are all creations of the Heavenly Father and we ought to be stewards of the environment and our brothers and sisters.

Tonight, we pray not only for the past tragedies, but for our future, and the future generations who are the rightful owners of a safe and nurturing environment.”

Community leaders, who shared their negative experiences and struggles against mining in their provinces, including Nueva Vizcaya, Cagayan, South Cotabato, and Zambales, joined them.

“In Creation based on Biblical accounts, Nature or the Environment is our elder brother/sister. As Filipinos, we must pay respect to our “kuya or ate,” but what is happening now, Mining Companies and the Philippine Government are not giving their “respect.” So we urge this companies and government to pay respect, STOP THE IRRESPONSIBLE MINNING!” said Bryan Paler, project coordinator of FCAID.

The solemn prayer protest is part of a weeklong campaign against the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the country. It is an annual Anti-Mining Solidarity Week of Actions held every September parallel to the International Mining Conferences hosted by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines.

Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina further added, “This annual business-as-usual gathering of international chambers and investors to talk about our mineral resources is intolerable. It is very unfair that these people, together with pro-mining government officials can discuss the future of our forests, environments, and peoples. And so we continue to call on the government—stop prioritizing the mining industry. To the mining industry we say ‘You are unwelcome here!’

Garganera concluded, “If these people are sincere in giving us sustainable development, then they will consider intergenerational equity and put a stop to all this exploitation—save our future, stop mining! Until we figure out how we want to maximize our mineral resources, mining should be stopped!”

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB. (30)

For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator (0927) 761.76.02 nc@alyansatigilmina.net
Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Advocacy Officer (0915) 331.33.61 policy@alyansatigilmina.net

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