Priests celebrate Mass at an anti-mining barricade in Brooke’s Point, Palawan on March 21, 2023. AVPP

By CBCP News

March 21, 2023

Brooke’s Point, Palawan

Protecting Palawan’s remaining unique biodiversity and natural resources is a “Christian duty” that is owed not only for the present time but extends also to future generations, a Catholic priest said.

Some 12 priests visited the ongoing barricade against large-scale nickel mining operations in Brooke’s Point town on Tuesday and held Mass with the demonstrators.

In his homily, Fr. Salvador Saturnino of the Puerto Princesa Cathedral said that it is not just the next few years that matter but the future.

“We want a kind of progress that will benefit the next generation,” Saturnino said.

The church is not against development, according to him, but it opposes development that deprives populations of their future.

“We are against growth that develops only one part while the rest is being destroyed. What we want is growth that is balanced, a growth that is integral. This is our Christian faith,” he said.

The barricade has been ongoing since Feb. 18 outside the Ipilan Nickel Corp. (INC) main office in the village of Maasin. AVPP

The priest further stressed that faith is something lived out practically in community–not just a ritual or a set of intellectual beliefs.

In the same manner, he pointed out that care for the earth is not just a mere slogan but a requirement of faith.

The situation in Palawan, he added, calls the faithful to join to live their Catholic faith and care for God’s creation.

“In the society that we live in today, our faith cannot just be a ritual or ceremony,” Saturnino said.

It’s been more than a month since villagers set up the barricade to demand an immediate halt of Ipilan Nickel Corporation’s mining operations.

The residents said they have no recourse but to organize protests since the mining firm continues to operate even after the local government issued a stoppage order.


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