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PHILIPPINES: Mining or Food?



PHILIPPINES: Mining or Food?

The interview can be viewed on Youtube at

On February 5, 2009, Fr. Frank Nally, former Columban priest missionary in the Phillippines and human Rights activist came to Hong Kong to discuss the content of a new report showing the intimate connection between mining and food production. Fr. Frank’s expertise draws from his experience as a member of the “Working Group” on Mining in the Philippines. The report is supported by the office of Clare Short MP who is involved in the Westminster launch of the above mentioned report. The report is authored by Robert Goodland and Clive Wicks, as well as two United Kingdom bishops, Bishop John Arnold, Auxilliary Bishop in the Diocese of Westminster and Bishop Michael Doe, General Secretary of USPG: Anglicans in World Mission, who stand in solidarity with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in their opposition to destructive mining in their country.

In February 2008 the working group on mining came to the Philippines, and documented six actual and proposed mining locations on the islands of Mindoro and Mindanao. They warned that the large-scale mining proposed for the Philippines threatens to wreak havoc, compounding a legacy of deforestation and habitat destruction. Evidence is provided to show that the extraction process damages food production, particularly rice, and imperils fisheries. The Philippines already relies on rice imports because of the decline in its domestic production.

The report calls for a number of things, to name a few: a national moratorium on mining; Prioritization of Food production; uphold the Right to Food and stop Human Rights abuses; Stabilize livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples through reforestation; and a rejection of the Mining Act 1995 which opened the country up to foreign mining companies, to be revoked.

Unless the problem is immediately addressed and the more urgent of the recommendations carried out, the threat of real hunger becomes quite immediate and real. In fact so many of the poor, have begun suffering.

Fr. Frank’s short interview underscores the concern of a priest and foreigner who a number of times unabashedly asked, “With mining what happens to the "Pearl" of the orient? Don’t we now see how the Pearl of the Orient is now imperiled?

The interview can be viewed on Youtube at

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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.


Posted on 2009-02-09
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