The bishop of the Diocese of Boac in Marinduque province plans to appeal to the administration of president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to declare the island province a “mining-free zone.”
In a report on CBCP News, Bishop Marcelino Antonio Maralit Jr. of Boac said he plans to write to Marcos to help in the campaign to protect the island’s environment and communities.
“Then we will ask the national government to declare the province of Marinduque as mining-free,” said Bishop Maralit in a video interview with Caritas Philippines.
The prelate said about 83 percent of the small island is “mineable” and “if we let the miners in, nothing will be left of the island.”
In 1993, the Mogpog River in the province has been considered biologically dead after a mine disaster. Heavily silted with mine tailings, Boac River also suffered the same fate in 1996.
Last month, a local court ordered the Marcopper Mining Corp. to pay damages claimed by persons affected by the mining disaster.
The mining firm was directed to pay PhP200,000 as temperate damages, PhP100,000 moral damages, and PhP1 million as exemplary damages to at least 30 plaintiffs.
But the bishop called it a “small victory,” adding that more cases against Marcopper remain pending for many years now.
“There is still a long way to go for a total victory,” said Bishop Maralit.”But this small victory gives courage for all those who advocate for environmental justice.”