Catholic Bishop Speaks out Against Mining
‘Devil confusing the enemy’ says Anti-Mining Bishop
South Cotabato, Philippines - Marbel Diocese Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez, In a meeting with Sagitarrius Mines,warned that “open pit mining is destructive to the environment” and voiced his strong condemnation over the mining company's extensive new project by saying the “devil is confusing the enemy"
“Trees will be cut, thus the lowlands will be flooded. We need to preserve the environment for the future generation,” Bishop Gutierrez aired his warning in a two hour meeting with Sagitarrius company officials over its Tampakan project, media reports quoted the bishop.
Many parts of the Philippines are still underwater by back to back tropical storms. The country is reeling from the recent natural catastrophy made worse by its diminishing forests, destructive mining and dam projects and government corruption.
The meeting was attended by SMI executives Elvie Grace A. Ganchero, manager of corporate community and sustainability department, John B. Arnaldo, corporate communications manager, and Rolando S. Doria, superintendent for national external affairs.
This is the first meeting between the two parties since January 17, 2003 when SMI revived the project previously owned by Western Mining Corp.
“We’re waiting for this for so long. Hopefully, this will be the start of a series of dialogue (with the diocese). All along we wanted to establish communication with all our stakeholders,” Arnaldo said.
SMI representative Ganchero conceded that the track record of the mining sector in the country is not good but that “we as a company are trying to demonstrate a practice that is different from the traditional practice.”
She said the Tampakan project “had a high acceptability” among the people in the area based on the company-commissioned perception survey conducted by the Social Weather Station report.
But Bishop Gutierrez questioned the report, saying the people’s acceptability was largely due to monetary considerations offered by the company.
At the meeting attended by a select group, the bishop said that the “devil is confusing the enemy,” alluding to the company and the local Catholic Church, respectively.
Ganchero, however, said the company was able to get the support of people in the mining area due to an "education campaign" they have been doing.
“Expect more opposition in the days ahead (from the diocese),” the Bishop told the mining executives.
Catholic Asia News
Tampakan mining firm fails to get church backing (Minda News)