Surigao bishops renew opposition to mining in Surigao province

Oct. 03, 2014

TAGUM CITY—High ranking church officials of the diocese of Tandag renewed their call on their faithful to oppose the mining operations in Surigao del Sur province.

Bishop Delfin D. Callao, Jr. of Iglesia Filipina Independiente diocese of Agusan and Surigao Sur, said that mining operations in Surigao del Sur “is a direct assault to the integrity of creation of God”.

“Many will be deprived of their right to life because mining has lots of negative implication on the ecological system. Therefore, it is a direct assault to God’s creation,” Callao said.

Callao said that mining “has no sense of the future because only foreign investors are reaping the benefits and not the people nor the communities where they mined”.

“Only a small percentage of funds derived from the mining operations go to government purse. Even the people working in these mining companies were deprived also of their labor rights such as poor wage salary and benefits. You see, only their big boss are benefiting,” said Callao.

In a separate statement Friday, Bishop Nereo P. Odchimar of the Catholic diocese of Tandag said that the continued mining in Surigao del Sur province threatens the life of the people and posed irreversible destruction to the environment.

“Mining, without doubt, directly threatens the life of our people. Its social cost clearly outweighs the benefits it outwittingly preaches. The damage is immediate and fast. Its effect is irreversible.” Odchimar said.

“Our province is rich, not only in mineral reserves, but also in biodiversity where we can find endemic species of flora and fauna,” he said.

But with the continued mining in Surigao province, Odchimar, pointed out that “environment is getting destroyed: unprecedented increase in turbidity in our seas and rivers reduced in half our marine productivity, heavy siltation due to soil erosion has continued to clog our irrigation system leading to a very low rice harvest output.”

“What will be left for the next generations? Where can they access safe water? How can they fish and farm when everything is destroyed already in the name of the present-day profit? What happens to the gift of God’s creation for all?,” he asked.

A research by DavaoToday revealed that Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. (MMDC) is engaged in a nickel production in Surigao del Sur province but the Department of Environment and Natural Resources ordered its shut down in April this year due to irregularities in its operations.

The MMDC holds a mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) for a 4,799- hectare tenement located in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur.

In year 2002, the Tandag Catholic diocese issued a statement categorically opposing mining in Surigao del Sur.

“Today, we reiterate our call to protect the integrity of God’s creation and to defend out people’s right to a healthful and balanced ecology,” said Odchimar.

“Indeed, if mining industry will truly be valuable, then it must first be beneficial to the people to whom the minerals belong. If mining is inevitable, let it bring peace, justice and development to the people, both today and tomorrow, as a sign of its real progress,” said Odchimar (MART D. SAMBALUD/

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