Saturday, June 21, 2008
PHILIPPINE Catholic bishops have found an ally from their counter-part in Australia in their bid to stop mining activities operated by Australian firms in the country.
Australian Bishop Michael Putney said they are willing to help the local Catholic prelates' campaign against Australian-controlled mining operations.
However, the Australian prelate refused to issue details on the possible assistance they will be extending, noting that they are willing to help if asked by the Filipino prelates.
"But we are very interested in assisting them. So if the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) wanted us to get involved in the matter then I'm sure we would be open to it," said Putney.
He noted that the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Australia (CBCA) conducted discussions on mining concerns raised by the CBCP, but they do not have any official statement yet.
Putney, chairman of the CBCA Commission on Ecumenism and Inter-religious Dialogue, added that they are interested in the reflections of the CBCP about mining.
Mining firms, including Australian-operated companies, are interested in conducting operation in the Philippines , which they considered as one of the most mineral-rich countries in the world.
Australia-based Lafayette mining company operating in Albay province pulled out over environmental issues. The firm's operation was immediately taken over by a Korean state-run mining company.
Aside from the Filipino bishops, local resident in areas where mining operations are being conducted expressed opposition to the activities, saying that mining companies are destroying not only the environment but also their lives. (FP/Sunnex)