Monday, July 05, 2010

South Cotabato ban on open pit mining praised

KORONADAL CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 5, 2010) - Environmentalists and various indigenous tribes and civil society organizations have praised a move by South Cotabato to ban open pit mining in the province and called on citizens to protect the environment from threats of pollution.

Even the Catholic Church welcomed the decision to ban open pit mining after long years of waiting for the provincial government to sign the Environment Code. Daisy Fuentes, then the governor of South Cotabato, had signed the code before stepping down on June 30.

“It is a victory of the people” said Sister Susan Bolanio, of the environment group called Climate Action Now.

Father Romeo Catedral, of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel town, said: “It is a victory for all who campaigned against destructive mining in South Cotabato, in our country and abroad. It is all our victory,” he said.

Another environment group called Save SocSarGen Movement also declared the signing of the Environment Code as a victory against large-scale mining, particularly against SMI-Xstrata’s Tampakan Copper Gold Project which it opposed.

Father Gillarme Joy Pelino, one of the movement’s conveners, said the signing was a triumph for the people of Tampakan and the whole province which depend much on watersheds threatened by large-scale open pit mining.

“The watersheds are our lifeline being the water source of our rice fields in the lowlands that ensures our food security,” the priest said. (With a report from Geo Solmerano and Erwin Quinones)

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