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In anticipation of Earth Day on April 22, Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), strongly supported Senate Resolution No. 989 filed by Senator Risa Hontiveros. The resolution urges a comprehensive investigation into the environmental and social impacts of mining and quarrying activities nationwide.

Caritas Philippines Vice President Bishop Gerardo Alminaza stressed the critical need to address the detrimental effects of mining and quarrying on communities and ecosystems. “As stewards of the Earth, we have a moral imperative to protect our environment for future generations,” Bishop Alminaza said. “Recent tragedies and environmental disruptions linked to mining and quarrying underscore the need for a thorough investigation.”

Senate Resolution No. 989 aligns with the principles outlined in the CBCP’s 2015 statement, “Stewards, Not Owners,” which emphasizes our intergenerational responsibility to safeguard the environment, echoing Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’.

“Climate change is not just an environmental issue; it’s a social justice issue,” Bishop Alminaza reiterated. “The plight of communities impacted by the negative effects of mining and quarrying cannot be ignored. Our actions today will shape the well-being of future generations.”

The proposed investigation aims to evaluate the regulations governing mining and quarrying operations, focusing on strengthening environmental safeguards and ensuring that benefits are distributed fairly among affected communities.

“As we approach Earth Day, we renew our commitment to advocate for sustainable and responsible management of our natural resources,” concluded Bishop Alminaza. “Caritas Philippines stands firmly with Senator Risa Hontiveros and urges the Senate to prioritize the well-being of our environment and vulnerable communities.”

The resolution follows recent incidents, including the tragic landslide in Maco, Davao de Oro, which claimed lives and highlighted the dangers of unchecked mining. Additionally, concerns have been raised about extensive mining operations on Homonhon Island, threatening its biodiversity and the livelihoods of local residents.

Caritas Philippines emphasizes the urgency of addressing these pressing issues to ensure a more just and sustainable future for all Filipinos.