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Priests laud mining operations

Support expressed for large-scale projects that 'don't damage the environment'

Protesters rally against mining operations in Mindanao parish Protesters rally against mining operations in Mindanao parish
  • Ben Serrano, Surigao City
  • Philippines
  • August 22, 2011
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A Catholic priest in the southern Philippines declared over the weekend his "all-out support" for large-scale mining in the region.

Father Al Bonono said mining "brought progress and changed the lives of people" in his parish in Claver town, Surigao del Norte province.

"Love for humanity is the key to realizing responsible mining not only in Claver but in every part of the country," the priest told a gathering of industry leaders, non-government groups and local officials on Saturday.

He said mining brought employment and livelihood opportunities to the people of his parish. He also denied allegations that mining is destructive to the environment.

Fr. Bonono is the second priest in Caraga to openly declare support for mining.  Fr. Raul Cabonce of Tubay town in Agusan del Norte has been preaching to the faithful the advantages of mining.

The position of the two priests runs counter to the official call of the Catholic Church in the Philippines to scrap the Philippine Mining Act .

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines last year issued a pastoral letter calling on President Benigno Aquino to abrogate the Mining Act of 1995 because it supposedly does not "adequately protect the interests of our people and the country's natural resources."

The bishops also called for a review of "all anomalous and controversial mining contracts."

Related reports:

Bishop calls for end to mining
Activists protest against mining law

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