PUBLIC STATEMENT OF BISHOP WARLITO I. CAJANDIG, APOSTOLIC VICAR OF CALAPAN, CLARIFYING HIS POSITION ON THE ISSUE OF MINING IN THE PROVINCE OF ORIENTAL MINDORO
The issue of mining is a very significant concern confronting our province, and the Church as well, for it is very much connected with life and well being of our people. Hence, I would like to reiterate my position on this issue to give clarification on my stand and to challenge the faithful and the Christian communities facing this problem.
It is my conviction that any project, if it is really intended for development, should genuinely respond to the needs of the people in order for them to have the fullness of life. This is the measure whether any project or activity can be considered truly responsible.
In my opinion, mining in the context of our province is irresponsible activity for it is conducted not to genuinely respond to the real and priority needs of the people. At first glance, there are visible benefits if the company builds clinics, provides job, constructs water tanks, or provides program for micro-lending. However, these activities can also be considered irresponsible because these activities make people become so constrained to make the right decisions according to their free will whether to allow mining operation or not.
Considering the profile of our province, the situation of our people and the pre-mining activities, the mining operation of Intex Resources can be considered irresponsible too more so if it will be conducted in a critical watershed. As I gathered from reliable sources, according to former DENR Secretary Heherson Alvarez, no amount of mitigating measures can be done to prevent the real destruction of this watershed, if mining will push through.
Considering the situation of our country, it is impossible to have the so-called responsible mining because of the prevailing culture of corruption in the government - many are abusive of their powers, and many can also be bribed. Even the on-going mining in Palawan, that is being taunted as beneficial to the people, does not really pursue the well being of the people, as reported to me by my friends – priests coming from the area.
Again, I want to emphasize my position, together with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the people of Mindoro, that I am opposing mining in the province.
May God, the Creator, continually bless us in our campaign to protect our ecology!
+WARLITO I. CAJANDIG, D.D.
Apostolic Vicar of Calapan
19 January 2009