Mariin ang pagtutol ng Diocese of Marbel sa nakaambang pagpapawalang bisa ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources sa Department Administrative Order 2017-10 na nagbabawal sa open pit bilang paraan ng pagmimina.
Ayon kay Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez, kung mapapawalang bisa ang open pit mining ban ay maaring muling magbubukas ang operasyon ng pagmimina ng Saggitarius Mining Inc. sa Tampakan, South Cotabato.
Nangangamba ang Obispo sa napakalaking pinsalang idudulot nito sa kanilang lalagiwan kabilang na ang pagkasira ng libu-lubong hektarya ng kagubatan, watershed at mga lupaing pang agrikultura, pagpapalayas sa may 5,000 mga B’laan tribe mula sa kanilang lupaing ninuno, at pagkalagay sa panganib ng food security, peace and order at kalusugan ng mamamayan ng South Cotabato.
“We will fight that until the end of the World”, paninindigan ng Obispo kaisa ang kanyang mga pari at mananampalataya sa Diyosesis ng Marbel.
Umaasa din si Bishop Gutierrez na magkakaroon ng oras si DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu na bisitahin ang kanilang lugar sa South Cotabato na matinding napinsala ng pagmimina.
Inihayag ni Bishop Gutierrez na naging mabuting kaibigan niya si Cimatu at umaasa siyang pakikinggan nito ang kanilang panig na tutol sa pagmimina.
“He’s my good friend. I hope he will visit me… He should [listen to me] because if it will not be me, it will be God who will be telling him. Anong sabi ng Panginoon? He says, “Take care of this land,” and we are to promote the spirituality of stewardship, God owns everything we are only stewards so we have to follow the will of God.” Pahayag ng Obispo sa Radyo Veritas.
Bunsod nito, nagpadala ng liham ang Diocese of Marbel kay pangulong Rodrigo Duterte at Secretary Cimatu upang hilingin na huwag tanggalin ang Open pit Mining Ban sa buong bansa.
Kabuuan ng liham ng Diocese of Marbel kay Pangulong Duterte.
Dear Mr. President:
The Clergy of the Diocese of Marbel would like to reiterate once again as we had expressed it in our past statements that the Diocese of Marbel is not against development and is convinced that the government is not left with mining alone as the only option for recovery.
Our people are presently facing immediate threats to human existence such as global warming, climate change, water and food shortages. Large scale mining activities never address but rather aggravate these threats. Thus we, as shepherds who are journeying with our suffering, poor people and guided by our Christian faith, view the lifting of the ban on open pit mining will not serve the common good and also immoral in the wake of global water and food shortages and tragic calamities.
Mr. President, the clergy of the Diocese of Marbel continue to oppose the introduction of mining activities in Tampakan, South Cotabato especially by the Sagittarius Mining, Inc., or SMI for it will:
1) Destroy the thousands of hectares of forested and agricultural land and biodiversity. Mining will surely damage the critical watersheds and will leave thousands of farmers and fishermen with no means to earn a living. “The development of the project will result in extensive physical disturbance of the land which for the most part is permanent.”
2) Dislocate the surface dwellers, mostly B’laans, from their ancestral land;
3) Threaten the food security and human life; and
4) Threaten the peace and order in the proposed mining area.
As stated in the letter of the Mindanao Bishops’ Letter of Appeal to the Office of President on March 13, 2014, “the cost will far outweigh the benefits to government and the Filipino people.” We assure you, Mr. President that we fully support endeavors for a moral, fair, just and sustainable utilization of natural resources.
MOST REV. DINUALDO D. GUTIERREZ, D.D.
Bishop of Marbel
And 78 PRIESTS ASSIGNED IN THE DIOCESE OF MARBEL