Gina Lopez seeks a million signatures for mining ban petition
Environmentalist Gina Lopez on Tuesday asked the Catholic Church to help gather a million signatures from parishes across the country in support of a petition for a mining ban in key biodiversity sites.
The Save Palawan Movement, which seeks to protect province and other island ecosystems in the country from mining, has launched a campaign to gather 10 million signatures in support of the petition to be presented to President Benigno Aquino III, who will have to make a decision on a comprehensive mining policy for the Philippines, Lopez told a forum hosted by the Catholic Media Network Tuesday.
The movement has so far gathered 6.2 million signatures. If it succeeds in collecting the 10 million signatures, which would represent 10 percent of the country’s population, Mr. Aquino will listen, said Lopez.
“I think there’s a law on people’s initiative that if the people don’t want it, you have to listen … how can you go against the will of the people. This is democracy,” she said.
“We are appealing to our priests to help us because so far the CBCP (Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines) has only given 30,000 signatures,” said Lopez, a convenor of the Save Palawan Movement.
“We hope the priests can take it on their agenda to get signatures,” she said.
She said the Save Palawan Movement is not entirely against mining but maintains that “island ecosystems”—areas which contain farmlands, coral reefs, mangroves and endemic species—should be off-limits to mining.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa), which he chairs, was doing its best to mobilize its social action centers in the dioceses to collect signatures for the campaign.
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