Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Misereor coalition issues new mining plan
Calls on President Benigno Aquino to 'smine only what we need for our national development'
- Hernan Melencio, Manila
- March 7, 2012
The group, which consists of NGOs and Church groups in partnership with Misereor of Germany, called on Aquino to rethink the current mining policy he inherited from the previous administration â€śaggressively promoting mining as a key economic driver.â€ť
Top on the list of what they want the government to do is â€śmine only what we need for our national development,â€ť the group said in a statement.
â€śWe should identify strategic metals for our national development anchored on our agricultural development. The minerals that have been mined and still being mined today are simply extracted by companies mostly foreign-owned and shipped to home countries of such companies.â€ť
PMP also wants the new mining policy to respect and protect â€śno-go-zonesâ€ť or restricted areas, ensure punishment for corporate abuses, allow peopleâ€™s participation in management and decision making, promote â€śurban miningâ€ť or metal recycling, and recognize and respect local autonomy.
The no-go-zones include conflict areas, key biodiversity areas, small-island ecosystem and prime agricultural lands.
The groupâ€™s position was firmed up at the end of a three-day summit last week attended by 300 participants including PMP partners and members of communities affected by mining operations.
â€śWe, the Aetas of Zambales, and other indigenous tribes would like to appeal to the president to value and truly consider our well-being and development. It is in agriculture and not in mining,â€ť said Carlito Dumulot, leader of a tribal group allied with PMP in Central Luzon.
Fr Edwin Gariguez, co-convenor of PMP and executive secretary of the Catholic Bishopsâ€™ Conferenceâ€™s National Secretariat for Social Action, said: â€śAs pointed out in these policy considerations, there is a need for greater accountability of mining corporations and access to justice of victims of corporate abuses. The respect, protect and remedy framework of the UN principle on business and human rights, to which the Philippine government was one of the signatories, is very clear on this.â€ť
Myrna Llanes of PMP Bicol said victims of the Rapu-Rapu mine tailing disaster in 2005 that damaged 13 villages in Albay province have yet to get justice from the corporations responsible for what she calls â€śenvironmental crimes.â€ť
Meanwhile, the cabinet clusters on economy and climate change are meeting Friday to discuss the issue. Their main concern is for the government to get a â€śfair shareâ€ť of mining revenues, which they admit is relatively small compared to the revenues generated by the industry.
Their input will be considered in the executive order on comprehensive policy guidelines on mining that has been delayed to give way to more consultations with stakeholders.