THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has appealed to the government to abolish the Mining Act of 1995.
In a letter to President Benigno Aquino III, CBCP President Bishop Nereo Odchimar said abrogating the law will protect and preserve the country’s natural resources.
“We are calling for the abrogation of the Mining Act of 1995 that do not adequately protect the interest of our people and the country’s natural resources,” the Tandag, Surigao del Norte prelate said.
This is the second request made by the bishops. The first was during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo where they asked the government to put an end to large-scale mining.
Aside from destroying the surroundings, mining also affects the livelihood of small farmers, fisher folks and indigenous peoples, the prelate group said.
Likewise, the CBCP urged Aquino to revoke Executive Order 270-A also known as the National Policy Agenda on Revitalizing Mining in the Philippines that was decreed by Arroyo in 2004.
“It is within your capacity, Mr. President, to revoke this executive order to give a strong signal to our people that now you have the genuine good of the Filipinos at heart,” read the CBCP letter.
It also called for the review of all anomalous and controversial mining contracts that the previous government has entered into with mining investors.
“The best instruments we could use in safeguarding the interests of our nation are transparency and sincerity in heeding the voice of the people who are the true beneficiaries and stakeholders of the country’s resources,” the letter added.
Odchimar likewise called for the reform in the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) by getting rid of the corrupt officials in its national and local agencies.
“Similarly, we also ask that an appropriate disciplinary measure be imposed upon local DENR officials who try to suppress the legitimate objections of the stakeholders by preventing their complaints from reaching the attention of the national office,” said the CBCP. (FP/Sunnex)