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As cries for help echo from flood-ravaged communities in Mindanao, Caritas Philippines demands a nationwide moratorium on mining, calling it a critical step to prevent future tragedies and address systemic issues that exacerbate disasters.

“The recent devastation in Mindanao is not a natural disaster alone,” declared Caritas Philippines Vice President Bishop Gerardo Alminaza. “It’s a man-made tragedy fueled by greed and irresponsible practices. Weak governance, political dynasties, and rampant mining have created a ticking time bomb, and it just exploded.”

Caritas Philippines has mobilized its Emergency Operational Center (EOC) and deployed initial relief of Php 900,000 to affected dioceses. However, Fr. Antonio Labiao, Jr., Caritas Philippines Executive Director, emphasizes, “Relief is crucial, but it’s like bandaging a wound without addressing the infection. We need a systemic change, and that starts with stopping the bleeding – a nationwide moratorium on mining.”

“Irresponsible mining practices have ravaged our environment,” Fr. Labiao continues, his voice ringing with urgency. “Deforestation, soil destabilization, and altered water flow – these are not just statistics, they’re the very reasons our communities are drowning. We demand a moratorium to halt the ongoing damage and hold a national conversation. Is profit more important than people’s lives? Is the short-term gain worth sacrificing future generations?”

Caritas Philippines demands more than just a pause on mining. They advocate for:

  • Sustainable development and environmental protection: “We cannot continue plundering our resources,” warns Bishop Alminaza. “We need sustainable practices that respect the environment and prioritize the well-being of future generations.”
  • Good governance and transparency: “We need leaders who prioritize the well-being of their people, not their own interests,” Bishop Alminaza states. “Accountability and responsible resource management are crucial to building resilience.”
  • Breaking the cycle of political dynasties: “Concentrated power stifles diverse voices and hinders inclusive development,” Fr. Labiao explains. “We urge Filipinos to elect representatives who truly serve the needs of their communities.”

Caritas Philippines stands with the people of Mindanao, urging the government, mining companies, and all stakeholders to take immediate action. “Together, we can build a more just, sustainable, and resilient future for all Filipinos,” Fr. Labiao concludes, “but that future cannot be built on the backs of broken communities and a ravaged environment. The moratorium is just the first step – we must rise above self-interest and choose a path that heals our land and empowers our people.”