The lifting of the ban on new mining deals is a sign that next year’s national election is fast approaching, Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila Bishop Broderick Pabillo said.
In light of the opening of the Laudato ‘si Week on Sunday, Bishop Pabillo voiced out his disappointment over the government’s decision to allow projects that can possibly lead to the destruction of the environment.
During his homily at the St. Joseph Parish in Tondo, Manila, Pabillo alleged that government leaders made the decision for the sake of raising election funds. (Read: Hey, Catholics! Bishop Pabillo Has This Advise for the 2022 Elections)
“They really need the money for the elections. And these big mining firms are the ones giving away these money in exchange for getting permits,” Pabillo said.
Ban on New Mining Deals
In April this year, President Rodrigo Duterte lifted the moratorium on new mining agreements which was imposed by the previous administration in 2012. (Read: Caritas PH Condemns Duterte for Lifting the Mining Ban)
The move received heavy criticisms from environmental activists and religious groups. Pabillo is among those who were on the frontlines of opposing the President’s decision.
“In our current situation, it will not benefit the country, but only just a few,” Pabillo said. He added that reopening the doors for new mining investments could lead to more human rights violations against the poor. (Read: Remembering the 9 Activists Who Died on ‘Bloody Sunday’)
“Mining is one of the causes of destruction of communities of lumads and the poor,” Pabillo said. “We will again see more human rights violations, red-tagging of indigenous people, farmers, fishermen, and environmentalists that are against mining.”
The Laudato ‘sí Week celebrates the anniversary of Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical, Laudato ‘sí, which was issued in 2015, through prayer, education, and online activities.