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Don't vote for pro-mine candidates, Catholics told

Bishop calls mining companies "villains of the environment"

Bong S. Sarmiento, Koronadal City
Philippines

October 11, 2012

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The Bishop of Marbel in Mindanao has today called on the faithful not to vote for politicians who back mining in next year's mid-term elections. "Do not vote for those who favor open-pit mining because they’re villains of the environment," Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez said. The prelate’s call comes a week after election season in the country began last week with the registration of candidates wanting to run for public office. Bishop Gutierrez said Church workers and volunteers will be conducting a voter education drive in the diocese's 25 parishes to "enlighten people about the evils of open-pit mines." The diocese covers South Cotatabo province where Sagittarius Mines, Inc. aims to start work on the  largest undeveloped copper-gold reserve in Southeast Asia. The $5.9-billion Tampakan Copper-Gold Project has been postponed to 2018 as a result of its inability to get an environmental permit and changes in the location of its infrastructure facilities. The provincial government, banned open-pit mining in 2010. Bishop Gutierrez said the ban should stay and urged President Benigno Aquino not to allow it, despite the president's earlier expression of support for the venture. Related reports In the trenches at Tampakan Companies challenge open-pit mine ban
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