Save God’s Creation, No to the Lifting of Moratorium on Mineral Agreements

“that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” Romans 8:21, NIV

On the occasion of Earth Day, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) expresses its utmost concern over the President’s lifting of the ban on granting new mining permits in the country. We are alarmed that this can bring about massive ecological destruction and will greatly impact on the health of our people especially at this time when we are in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic.

Executive Order No. 130 allows the government to enter into new mineral agreements, subject to compliance with the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. This was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, April 14, and is expected to pave the way for at least 291 existing mining applications. While EO 130 claims that there will be economic contributions from mining, the long–term loss in terms of national patrimony is incalculable.

History has shown us that large-scale mining has left many of our mountains disemboweled, all in the name of profit. As mountains and forests are focal ecosystems, their destruction has negative chain reactions to other ecosystems including agricultural lands, river systems, and oceans. The irreversible consequences to the environment have been felt intensely both in rural and urban areas especially since the country is one of the most vulnerable to disasters caused by climate change. Large-scale mining has also left many affected communities impoverished, vulnerable, and displaced especially among indigenous peoples. The majority of mining areas are in ancestral domains.

Massive human rights violations are also consequences of mining as the police and military become investment defense forces to protect the mining companies’ interests. Many of our land and environmental defenders are under attack as they put their lives on the line for a safe and healthy environment[1]. Those who side with them, including churches, are also vilified and red-tagged.

Our faith compels us to be good stewards of God’s creation, to care for and protect the harmony of oikos especially under unprecedented global health and climate crises. Thus, the NCCP affirms its stand against the liberalization of the country’s mining industry through the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 which has “allowed the intensified extraction of our mineral resources endowed by the Almighty Creator” and “violates the patrimony and sovereignty of the country with the expropriation of the people’s land for foreign mining corporations and the 100% control of equity”[2]. More than ever, the NCCP calls its member churches and the public in pushing for the rejection of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.

We call on the Duterte government to rescind Executive Order No. 130 and to uphold the country’s sovereignty and protect our national patrimony to avert further ecological devastation.

22 April 2021 Signed:

Signed:

REV. FELIPE B. EHICAN, JR.

Chairperson

RT. REV. JOEL O. PORLARES

Vice-Chairperson

DRA. GAY B. MANODON

Vice-Chairperson

MS. CATHERINE KAY F. ALMARIO

Vice-Chairperson

MAJOR ALLAIN M. NIETES

Corporate Treasurer

BISHOP REUEL NORMAN O. MARIGZA

General Secretary











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[1] According to Global Witness, the Philippines is the deadliest country in the world for environmental activists in 2019.

[2] NCCP Resolution on the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, NCCP Executive Committee, Nov. 4, 1996