Bishop Jose Elmer Mangalinao of Bayombong has expressed support for the decision of the provincial government of Nueva Vizcaya to stop mining operations in the province.
“I support the decision of the governor and the provincial board because they know that the mining company has no permit to operate,” said the prelate in an interview over Veritas 846.
Bishop Mangalinao, who is also vice president of the Permanent Committee on Public Affairs of the bishops’ conference, commended the move made by Governor Carlos Padilla who asked President Rodrigo Duterte to reject the renewal of the contract with Oceana Gold Philippines Inc.
The prelate said mining operations in the province have brought about the destruction of farmlands, watersheds, and mountains.
Governor Padilla earlier expressed fears that mining activities, which have been going for years, might lead to the formation of sink holes.
The governor also stressed the importance of protecting the province’s watersheds that are essential to the communities.
Several indigenous people groups have earlier appealed to the government to put an end to the mining operations because of its impact on the environment and their source of their livelihood.
Bishop Mangalinao expressed hope that the national government will listen to the appeal of the people of Nueva Vizcaya.
In December, local government and Church leaders sent a joint letter of appeal to the president expressing their objection to the operations of the mining company in the province.
Oceana Gold Philippines Inc. has started a bid for the renewal of its permit after it expired in June 2019. The company, however, encountered delays after an indigenous group submitted a claim over what they said is their ancestral domain in one of the mining sites.