A coalition of Philippine faith-based organizations appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to bring back the moratorium on new mining projects.
The Philippine FBO Forum said the temporary benefits of mining are not worth the long-term costs to the country’s fragile and valuable natural environment.
“We call on President Duterte to reconsider the lifting of the ban on new mining permits,” said the religious leaders in a statement.
“The short-term benefit is not commensurate with the long-term destruction and loss on our ecosystem and in the future of our country,” they said.
Among the signatories of the statement are Caritas Philippines, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines and the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches.
Duterte earlier lifted a nine-year moratorium on new mining agreements in the country to increase revenues especially during the pandemic.
The faith leaders, however, raised “grave alarm” over the president’s decision, saying the country is vulnerable to disasters.
They said the lifting of the mining moratorium can also allow the entry of new mining companies that are “notorious” for violating safety standards.
“Our people have been victims of the destructive effects of large-scale mining on our forests, rivers, lakes, seas, air and on our biodiversity,” said the faith-based groups.
They also said that human rights violations are “rampant” in areas where mining activities take place, especially against indigenous peoples, peasants, fisher folks and environmental defenders.