QUEZON CITY, February 10 (PIA) — An executive of the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines lauded the Department of Environment and Natural Resource (DENR) for the recent closure of a number of mining operations across the country.
The DENR issued the closure orders against 23 mining firms, most of them operating in functional watersheds and coastal waters, based on the final results and recommendations of the multisectoral audit teams formed to look into the compliance of mining operators with the existing environmental laws and regulations.
“Truly, mining in watershed and fragile island ecosystems should not have been permitted! The government is serious in repairing its gross mistake in the past – where all that matters is the corporate interests at the cost of the environment,” National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez said.
“(Sec.) Gina Lopez should be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments for standing to what is right and in defending people’s well-being, over and above corporate greed,” Father Gariguez added.
Meanwhile, companies that are affected can file for a Motion for Reconsideration (MR) to the DENR within 15 days from receipt of the order and still be appealed to the Office of the President.
The list of mining companies affected by the closure can be seen on through this link: http://bit.ly/2kfQhEy.
A recipient of the 2012 Goldman Environment Prize, Fr. Gariguez is known for leading an 11-day hunger strike with Mangyans in Mindoro to stop the mining operation of the Norwegian firm Intex in 2009.
He is now involved in Yolanda Rehabilitation efforts for survivors which also included those who survived the monster storm in Coron, Palawan.
These rehabilitation efforts are part of the Catholic Church’s three year program in nine provinces with focus on ecosystem recovery and livelihood promotion. (LP/NASSA Caritas Philippines/DENR)