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
Activists dismiss new mining policy
Executive order 'makes little change' to mining regulationsEnvironmental activists march to the presidential palace to protest the new mining policy of the government (Photo by Rene Sandajan)
- ucanews.com reporters, Manila
- July 10, 2012
The new policy freezes the issuance of new mining permits but allows the operation of existing mines in an attempt to spur development in mining areas.
â€śAt best, the [executive order] is a Band-Aid attempt to solve the already festering, rotting and gaping wounds caused by the liberalization of theÂ mining industry," said Frances Quimpo, secretary general of the Kalikasan environmental party.
He said the new policy engages in "greenwashing" to justify more profit-taking by foreign and large-scale miners and that the order will allow corporations unhampered access to the countryâ€™s vast mineral wealth in exchange for government revenue.
There are around 30 mining companies operating in the country, and they account for about 6 percent of the country's total exports.
The government said the order is expected to boost revenues through an increase in fees but that no new mining contracts will be approved by the government until revenue-sharing agreements and mechanisms have been put in place.
The policy also directs government agencies to carry out the "full enforcement" of environmental standards and to mete out appropriate sanctions to violators.
But some said the new policy is no different from existing regulations.
"The policy is actually the same, if not worse, than the other mining polices, because everything will be dictated by the national government," Â Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon saidÂ in a statement.
He said the provisions of the executive order are "sympathetic" to the mining firms, instead of to the environment.
Catholic bishops have been lobbying Congress for the passage of a â€śpro-peopleâ€ť mining law since last year.
The proposed Peopleâ€™s Mining Act of 2011 was designed to replace the Mining Act of 1995, which environmental groups described as an instrument used to liberalize foreign access and control of the mining industry.
Father Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the Social Action Secretariat of the bishopsâ€™ conference, said 41 representatives and four senators have already signified support for the measure. The Philippine Congress has 23 senators and 285 members of the House of Representatives.
Fr. Gariguez said 72 bishops have also signed a position paper endorsing the proposed law. â€śThe support that we got from the bishops will be a big help in convincing our lawmakers,â€ť he said.
Bishops step up attack on Philippines mining