Marbel Diocese calls on parishioners to join solidarity march against open pit mining
KORONADAL CITY—The Diocese of Marbel on Tuesday urged parishioners and residents against open-pit mining in South Cotabato to join a solidarity march on Thursday, May 19, in this city.
Marbel Bishop Cerilo Casicas said the local Catholic Church-led protest was in reaction to Monday’s decision of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to lift the ban on open-pit mining in the province contained in its 12-year-old landmark environment code.
“Please join and help us in this mobilization. This is one way for our voices to be heard. We need warm bodies to show them that many of us don’t want the lifting of the ban on open-pit mining,” the prelate told reporters late Monday afternoon.
The solidarity march is an appeal to uphold the ban on open-pit mining in South Cotabato, an advisory from the Diocese said.
The assembly is set at 8 a.m. at the Christ the King Cathedral compound along Alunan Avenue for the march to the South Cotabato Provincial Capitol.
On Monday, South Cotabato board members in a plenary session approved on second reading the proposed amendments to the Environment Code that included lifting the ban on open-pit mining.
No one from the 11 provincial board members present during the session objected and explained their stance in approving the removal of the prohibition on open-pit mining.
Board Member Glycel Mariano-Trabado presided over the session in place of Vice Gov. Vicente de Jesus, who was on leave.
Present during the plenary session were Board Members Hilario De Pedro VI, principal author of the proposal to remove the ban on open-pit mining, Edgar Sambog, Dardanilo Dar, Noel Escobillo, Antonio Fungan, Eamon Gabriel Mati, Henry Ladot, Rolando Malabuyoc, Alyssa Marie Fale, and Rose Grace Achurra.
Casicas appealed to reelected Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo, Jr. to veto the provincial board decision, which stirred outrage among residents who want the ban to stay.
The prelate asked the governor to give them an audience and listen to their plea.
The lifting of the ban on open-pit mining removed the 12-year-old thorn in the throat of the $5.9 (about P295) billion Tampakan project, Southeast Asia’s largest untapped copper and gold minefield.
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