ENVIRONMENTALISTS are appealing to Pope Francisto support their call for the passage of the People's Mining Bill in the wake of what they called "meaningless exploitation of mineral resources in the countryside."
Panalipdan-Southern Mindanao Region (SMR) spokesperson Kim Gargar said House Bill 4315 or The People's Mining Bill will help protect the forests destroyed by big mining corporations.
The bill will eventually lead to the nationalization of the mining industry and the changing of its export-oriented nature, Gargar said.
"In the spirit of pro-people religious stand, we hope that the Pope would express his support for the bill, so our lawmakers will pass it as law. We also hope that through the Pope, people may see the relevance of this law, how this would greatly benefit the people and the economy," Gargar said.
Republic Act 7942 or The Mining Act of 1995 allows the liberalization of mining industries, giving foreigners the right to fully own mining companies in the country. The bill has been decried as unconstitutional by various groups since its ratification.
"The only Christian thing to do in this situation is to call for the immediate cessation of foreign mining operations. To destroy the environment is to destroy the life of the people. We call on the Pope to hear our call to protect the people and the environment," Gargar said.
The spokesman said the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CPCP) had long ago made a call against mining in the country.