Catholics and anti-mining advocates on Jan. 20 flocked to a prayer rally against mining operations at the Immaculate Conception Church in Guiuan town in Eastern Samar.
The Diocese of Borongan took the lead in organizing the event known as the Jericho Walk, a collective effort aimed at condemning mining activities on Homonhon and Manicani islands.
In his homily, Bishop Crispin Varquez emphasized the importance of rejecting acts or products associated with environmental harm, such as sports activities funded by mining companies, improper disposal of plastic and toxic wastes, or supporting politicians endorsing programs detrimental to the environment.
Varquez asserted, “Mining poses a threat to the environment, and there is scant evidence of responsible mining practices in the Philippines.”
More than a thousand Catholics, anti-mining advocates, and environmental activists gathered, with representatives from the Diocese of Borongan, Diocese of Calbayog, Diocese of Catarman, and various other Dioceses from Samar and Leyte in attendance.
Originally slated for November 2023, the Jericho Walk prayer rally faced obstacles when the Local Government Unit of Guiuan, led by Mayor Annaliz Gonzales Kwan, denied the permit application. The inaugural prayer rally occurred in Borongan City in June 2023.
Currently, four active mining operations on the islands of Homonhon have raised heightened concerns among local communities.
“A pristine environment is an invaluable treasure, not only for us today but also for the future generations of our children and grandchildren,” said Varquez, emphasizing the long-term impact of preserving a healthy environment.
All photos by Alren Beronio