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Opponents unite to fight mining

Bishop and governor get together to oppose exploration

Opponents unite to fight mining
Tribal leaders call the attention of the government to their plight
Flor Taguinod, Nueva Vizcaya

March 16, 2011

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A crusade against mining has brought together Governor Luisa Cuaresma of Nueva Vizcaya in the northern Philippines and her staunch critic, Bishop Ramon Villena of the Diocese of Bayombong. The bishop expressed support for the governor's stand against the operation of mining company FCF Minerals in Quezon town’s Runruno village. Bishop Villena also issued a pastoral letter denouncing the mining company OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI) for alleged violations of indigenous people's rights in the town of Kasibu. Cuaresma, meanwhile, wrote a letter to president Benigno Aquino III to call for the cancellation of the mining company's permit. Bishop Villena, whose disagreements with Cuaresma include the proliferation of gambling in the province, said he is supporting the governor's call in line with "the Church’s renewed campaign against the entry and operation of any large-scale mining activities in the province." In her letter to Aquino, Cuaresma said she is registering her objections to the mining project because of its possible effects to the environment. "Our wealth lies not in what is underground but in our peace-loving people of different cultures who want nothing more in this world than to live in harmony with nature," the governor said. Cuaresma's statement came after 11 out of the 13-man provincial board voted to endorse "with conditions" the multibillion-peso Runruno Gold-Molybdenum Project in the province. The endorsement completes the requirements of the Philippine government for the mining company to start operation. Related reports Environmentalists call for wider ban on mining Archdiocese steps up bid to halt mining PM13663.1645
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