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Sections - Ecology and the Environment
Written by Fr. Shay Cullen, PREDA   
Friday, 14 January 2011 17:28

 

By Fr. Shay Cullen, PREDA

 

Vested Interests File Court Cases against Brave Rural Folks and Missionaries Protecting their Lands, Crops and Forests from International Mining Juggernauts


(Fr. Shay's columns are published in The Manila Times, in publications in
Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.
http://www.preda.org/main/archives/2011/r11011201.html)

 

W hile you might believe that the world is mired in a hopeless, all-powerful culture of greed and selfish pleasure, take heart and inspiration from the thousands of people who risk their lives daily in the unselfish and heroic service of the oppressed and endangered people of the developing world.
 
Last week Columban Missionaries Father Sean Martin and Sister Patty Dinare were ordered to stand before the Regional Trial Court in Aurora about 40 kilometers from Midsalip, Pagadian City, Mindanao, to answer charges that they were acting illegally in supporting the Subanen Indigenous people in holding a picket to block a mining company from drilling in the ancestral rain forest. There are three court cases against the brave rural folk who are trying to protect their lands, crops and forests from the relentless onslaught of the International mining juggernauts.
 
Driven by the surge in international prices of minerals, mining companies from the developed countries use local drillers to explore for the mineral deposits, then move in and take over. For more than 15 years the remaining beautiful forests, rivers and mountains of Midsalip have been the target of plunderers and illegal loggers.
 
Yet despite the alleged abuse of power by some local government officials and the Department of Environment Natural Resources (DENR) in giving permits and licenses to the mining corporations when they ought to be defending the people’s rights and the environment, the farmers with church support and the missionaries have bravely withstood the incursions.

 

Crooks Grabbing Ancestral Lands
 
C rooked land grabbers out to takeover their ancestral lands and tear up the trees, mountains and rivers have been conniving with corrupt officials for years. The people need help. The untold damage this could cause would be catastrophic. No less than 15,000 hectares of rice land and 8,056 hectares of fishponds and the lives of almost 400,000 people depend on preserving the natural food and life-giving environment.
 
This is not to mention the benefits that the forests have as a carbon sink, absorbing the climate-changing co2 that is causing floods and natural disasters around the world. If the international conference on climate change in
Cancun, Mexico, recently told us anything, it is to save the forests and replant what has been destroyed.
 
The poverty of the people is growing for the past 10 years since the local government of Midsalip began to appropriate for their own salaries, perks and benefits the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), which according to the General Appropriations Act must be used only for the basic services for the people. This is what President Aquino anti-corruption team must look into. “If there is no corruption there is no poverty” he says. Well there is much poverty in Midsalip and the surrounding countryside where people have to survive on their own.
 
The mining corporations as represented by the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce and the powerful rich Filipino families are plotting together with them to pressure President Noynoy Aquino and his officials to give into their demands to open up the lands, forest and mountains to them and their greedy destructive plans. They call it economic development but what the bankers did to the world economy these will do to the world’s natural environment. The damage is well underway in the
Philippines. And the people everywhere must unite to stop it, write to Greenpeace, send a copy of this article and help make this an international environmental issue.

 

Editor’s Note: Our own Chicago-based columnist has written an exposé about an scandalous mining venture in Sorsogon Province in this article, Joseph Lariosa Takes Up the Cudgels for “Save Matnog, Stop The Iron Project”


In these epic environmental battles, no one can be neutral. The injustice is so appalling. We must stand in solidarity with the poor but resilient people like the brave missionaries who have given their lives working with the people, defending human rights, dignity and ancestral lands.
 
Being put on trial for defending human rights and the dignity of the poor is courageously following in the footsteps of Jesus of Nazareth; it is the risk taking of the gospel and at the forefront of the ministry for justice.
 
What better way is there to live one's short life as a true Christian on this planet than to take a stand with the poor, preserve life and uphold moral values and ask nothing in return but the privilege of serving others. No greater love is there than to give your life in the unpaid service of others. # # #

 

E ditor’s Note: To contact Fr. Shay Cullen at the Preda Center, Upper Kalaklan, Olongapo City, Philippines, please e-mail him at  preda@info.com.ph
SEND US DONATIONS: You can now send us donations Online via PAYPAL. Please visit our website.

 



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Last Updated on Saturday, 15 January 2011 07:53
 
Comments (1)
1 Friday, 14 January 2011 20:13
Dear Friends from Mindanao, Especially the Ateneo Graduates of Ateneo de Zamboanga, Ateneo de Davao and/or Xavier University:

Fr. Shay Cullen has written an exposé about some scandalous mining operations in Zamboanga del Sur, principally in Pagadian City.

To read Fr. Shay's article published in our website, please click on these links:

The Values We Live For

URL: http://www.mabuhayradio.com/ecology-and-the-environment/the-values-we-live-for

Since many of our Atenean friends from Mindanao are also some of the organizers and leaders of the Mindanao Federation of Southern California, can we get some input from them?

I have been disenfranchised as an "alumnus" of the Ateneo de Manila, as I failed to secure a diploma, having reached only the first semester of the fourth-year law proper (as Ateneans in Southern CA now require a diploma from an Ateneo school to be considered an alumnus). However, I am willing to help our friends from Mindanao in fighting land grabbing in their island and stop the operation of foreign mining cartels.

If Ateneans from Mindanao and other Overseas "Mindanawons" won't lift a finger in supporting or even leading the "epic environmental battles" and "standing in solidarity with the poor but resilient people like the brave missionaries who have given their lives working with the people, defending human rights, dignity and ancestral lands" (as Father Shay described it in his article), then perhaps the Philippines is beyond redemption.

What say you, Friends from Mindanao?

Mabuhay,

Lolo Bobby M. Reyes
Editor
www.mabuhayradio.com

PS: We have too a similarly-scandalous mining operation in Matnog town of Sorsogon Province, per our Chicago-based columnist, who has written an exposé about a mining venture in Sorsogon Province in this article, Joseph Lariosa Takes Up the Cudgels for “Save Matnog, Stop The Iron Project” Some Overseas Sorsoganons are up in arms and are talking with their kin and friends in Sorsogon Province about organizing a movement to recall the provincial governor.

URL: http://www.mabuhayradio.com/ecology-and-the-environment/joseph-lariosa-takes-up-the-cudgels-for-save-matnog-stop-the-iron-project

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