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Philippine Catholic bishop urges stronger resistance to 'rape of nature'

Bishop Socrates Mesiona of Puerto Princesa joins protesters at an anti-mining barricade in Brooke’s Point, Palawan on March 7, 2023. CBCP NEWS

Bishop Socrates Mesiona of Puerto Princesa urged demonstrators not to give up the fight against what he called the ‘rape of nature.’ He was speaking during Mass at an anti-mining barricade in the southern Palawan town of Brooke’s Point, Philippines, on March 07, 2023.

According to Bishop Mesiona, the protesters, with their "brave acts," put their lives at risk to protect the environment from further devastation.

Yet, he continued, "Our fight must go on, and believers are called to safeguard and take care of both creation and the individual."

We must continue to be watchful and supportive of one another because it appears that this conflict will continue for some time, as Bishop Mesiona said.

The site where the Ipilan Nickel Corporation (INC) extracts nickel ore in Brooke’s Point town in Palawan province taken on March 2, 2023. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARK SALUDES/CARITAS PHILIPPINES

The bishop characterized the mining there as a "rape of mother nature."

The mining company, according to protesters, has been operating without a mayor's permit.

In his opinion, "If the mining company gets away, leaving it to its own devices after being “abused,” we will be left behind and we will be the ones to suffer, not the businessmen, which is the sad reality."

Outside the Ipilan Nickel Corp (INC) main office in Maasin, a barricade has been in place for 17 days in a row.

Small farmers, indigenous people from Palawan, and fishermen were the strongholds of the movement, according to the bishop.

As stated by Bishop Mesiona, "We as believers are obligated to maintain our own home since destroying the environment is a sin."

It was the bishop's second visit to the campsite to show the Church's support for their cause, accompanied by about 10 priests.

Mary Jean Feliciano, Brooke's Vice Mayor, attended the Mass as well.  - With inputs from CBCP News


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