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Caritas Philippines, the development and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has expressed its unwavering support for the island-wide Jericho Prayer Assembly in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, which is scheduled for tomorrow, January 20, 2024. The assembly is a powerful stand against mining operations and environmental degradation in the region.

“We stand in solidarity with the communities affected by mining operations in Samar island,” said Caritas Philippines Vice President Bishop Gerardo Alminaza. “The devastating impacts on the environment and the lives of the people are a stark reminder of the urgency to act. We condemn the practices that prioritize profit over the well-being of individuals and ecosystems.”

“We raise our voices in prayer, imploring the government to listen to the cries for climate justice,” Bishop Alminaza added. “The call for responsible resource management and the protection of vulnerable communities must be heard and acted upon. We urge for a shift towards sustainable development models that prioritize the long-term health of our planet and its inhabitants.”

Caritas Philippines is also calling for accountability and reparations for the damage caused by mining operations in Manicani and Homonhon. The group is urging the government to support a just transition to a future where communities can thrive in harmony with nature.

“We stand by the communities seeking redress for the loss and damage caused by mining operations,” said Caritas Philippines Executive Director Fr. Antonio Labiao, Jr. “The ecological destruction and the disruption of livelihoods demand accountability and reparations.”

Caritas Philippines is also urging the international community to lend its voice in support of the Filipino people’s struggle for environmental protection.

“The fragile ecosystems of our islands cannot withstand the onslaught of unsustainable mining practices,” Fr. Labiao said. “We implore the world to stand with us in demanding an end to mining in our archipelago.”

“We believe in the power of collective action and the transformative potential of solidarity,” Fr. Labiao said. “We will walk alongside the communities affected by mining, advocating for their rights and seeking solutions that prioritize the common good.”