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Filipino Jesuit backs mining

Father Emeterio J. Barcelon, SJ, of Milamdec Microfinance Foundation Inc. says that he supports open pit mining operations in South Cotabato.
Filipino Jesuit backs mining
Published: April 26, 2011 09:31 AM GMT
Updated: April 26, 2011 09:34 AM GMT

Mining is a vital part of everyday life. Even those who are not connected with the industry use materials that result from mining in their day-to-day activities, said Father Emeterio J. Barcelon, SJ, of Milamdec Microfinance Foundation Inc. and of Xavier University Ateneo de Cagayan. In an exclusive interview with Malaya Business Insight, Barcelon said the members of the Church who oppose mining are "hyped by a lot of these international groups who are against mining." "It is part of Filipino culture to be opposed to everything big. This is a result of us being a colony for 400 years. That is how we think. But we can change," he said. Barcelon said there is no Church doctrine that is against mining. "The idea is that we should take care of what God has provided us, but being against mining is illogical," he said. Barcelon said the Church has always been positive on mining and that the industry could well lead to the country’s economic salvation. He said the country needs to create wealth so that its people do not have to leave their families behind in order to find jobs abroad. He said gold lying idle in the mountains does not benefit anybody. Gold has to be extracted "so that it will help people live a decent life," he said. The 83-year-old Jesuit priest also questioned the way anti-mining advocates propose to "preserve" the environment. "The Philippines is rich in minerals. Maybe some people want to preserve the natural resources for future generations. But the problem in the Philippines is that why should we preserve our minerals for the future generations when we need these for the present generation," said Barcelon. Barcelon said he favors open pit mining in South Cotabato, saying the method is much better than deep mining (tunneling). "How big is the biggest open-pit mining in the world? Two hundred hectares is only three times as big as our campus (Xavier University Ateneo de Cagayan). It is very, very small. Compared with Cagayan de Oro City, our campus is a grain of sand in an ocean. The footprint of an open pit is small, and it can be rehabilitated once it is finished," he said. SOURCE Here’s a priest, a Jesuit, who favors mining (Malaya Business Insight) PHOTO Eric Guinther (Marshman) (Wikipedia/CC 3.0)

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