Saturday, January 22, 2011

Church leads march vs mining in Dipolog City: Philippine Daily Inquirer

DIPOLOG CITY — Mining protesters, backed by Catholic Church leaders, marched on this city’s streets on Wednesday to dramatize opposition to applications for permit to mine more than 700,000 hectares of mostly tribal land in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

The protest march of at least 1,000 people was visibly influenced by the Church as women clutched rosaries and loudly recited prayers as they wound their way around the city.

They were condemning the destruction of tribal communities in Zamboanga del Norte that had been opened to mining.

Bishop Jose Manguiran, of the Dipolog diocese, said the march would serve as a reminder that the people continued to resist mining.

The rally was the first of its magnitude in about 10 years and came amid increasing interest on mining in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Quoting data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Manguiran said at least 137 applications are awaiting approval to mine at least 703,598 ha of land in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

The applications are on top of 15 current licenses for large-scale mining issued since 2009 covering at least 60,000 ha in the Zamboanga area.

Manguiran said in Zamboanga del Norte, Canadian firm TVI Resources Development Inc. is expanding operations to Jose Dalman from Siocon town.

In two other towns—Sibutad and Rizal—another firm, Philex Gold Phils., is reopening its mines.

“There is renewed interest in mining, but the issues facing the industry and government agencies have not changed,” said Roldan Gonzales, executive director of nongovernment group Gitib Inc. (Ryan D. Rosauro, Inquirer Mindanao)


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