BAGUIO CITY – The Diocese of Baguio recognized mining as a source of sustenance for the people for over a century now, especially in various parts of Benguet where most of the areas are mineralized.
In his pastoral letter read in all parishes in Baguio and Benguet, Bishop Victor Bendico stated that big mining companies came to Benguet to dig in the undergrounds the rich mineral deposits like gold, silver and copper through the years.
“We urge these corporations to continue implementing and enhancing social responsibilities and development programs and the rehabilitation of the environment,” Bishop Bendico stressed.
However, he also recognized the fact that small-scale miners increased through the years and some reportedly took over mining areas left by big companies.
“We cannot argue that mining is a source of living. However, we must also remind our small-scale miners to be responsible, especially with their unregulated mining operations, and the use of toxic chemicals such as cyanide and mercury that destroy the environment,” the Bishop added.
He pointed out that if people destroy the source of their bread and butter, where can they turn to?
Bishop Bendico called on both the big-scale and small-scale mining companies to be responsible and conscientious miners to ensure the sustainable preservation and protection of the environment.
“We are not against mining as long as it is regulated. What we are against is irresponsible mining. We urge our national and local government units, the Mines and Geosciences bureau to continue implementing a sustainable but also responsible mining,” Bendico asserted.
According to him, the Church wants to address more emphatically the unregulated small-scale mining activities which have allegedly become more dangerous with the unregulated use and disposal of toxic chemicals into the rivers and waterways.
The Bishop also raised the question on whether or not the law governing the implementation of the Minahang bayan is enforceable for the benefit of the pocket miners which have established small-scale mining as their source of livelihood through the years.
Bishop Bendico also urged the miners to save for the future and care for the welfare of their families by avoiding the one-day millionaire mentality and selfish attitude of dependency.
He reminded the miners that mineral deposits are limited and that they are running out and are scarce.
The bishop emphasized that the Church dialogue with everyone to promote the culture of charity and sharing and that it shuns away from the throwaway culture and consumerist mentality.
‘Satisfy your needs, not your wants. We urge the faithful to refrain from food waste attitude like food scraps, discarded food and excess food,” he quipped.